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The Devil in the White City

Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Larson, Erik (eBook - 2003 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Devil in the White City
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Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized Americab2ss rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgroundsb7sa torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.
Authors: Larson, Erik
Title: The devil in the white city
murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America
[electronic resource]
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2003.
Notes: Title from eBook information screen.
"Vintage eBooks"--Cover image.
Contents: Evils imminent
Prologue, aboard the Olympic
Frozen music
An awful fight
In the white city
Cruelty revealed
Epilogue, the last crossing.
Summary: Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized Americab2ss rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgroundsb7sa torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.
Local Note: 23
ISBN: 9781400076314
1400076315
9781400076314
Statement of Responsibility: Erik Larson
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
System Details: Requires Adobe Digital Editions (file size: 1800 KB) or Adobe Digital Editions (file size: 2974 KB).
Subject Headings: Mudgett, Herman W., 1861-1896. Serial murderers Illinois Chicago Biography. Serial murders Illinois Chicago Case studies. World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.) Burnham, Daniel Hudson, 1846-1912. Architects Illinois Chicago Biography. Chicago (Ill.) History 19th century.
Topical Term: Serial murderers
Serial murders
Architects
MARC Display»

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A well researched and entertaining, true account of the 1893 Chicago Wolrds Fair wrapped around a murder manhunt.

Jun 28, 2014
  • ShirleyRDavis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Enlightening docu-thriller about the building of the White City (1893--Columbian Exhibition) in Chicago. The book relates the architects, and their triumphs/tribulations meticulously throughout their journey of planning, building and executing the Columbian Exhibition. Edge-of-the seat details of the actions of a true serial killer hidden by the bustle, crime and growth of Chicago are entertwined. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book for the knowledge it revealed about the only city I have ever lived in, and the skill of the writer to tell a suspenseful, thriller-shocker with accuracy to boot!

Apr 17, 2014
  • KCLSLibsRecommend rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A true ‘thriller’ in every sense of the word! Local writer Erik Larson’s research illuminates the genius behind the innovative 1893 Chicago ‘World Columbian Exposition’. Daniel H. Burnham, architect of the fair, was responsible for the construction of the famous ‘White City’ around which the fair was built. At the time the Exposition was going on another sort of genius was busy in Chicago as well. Serial murderer, H.H. Holmes, was entrapping young women in his home and executing them in a sealed room while he watched them die. Larson weaves these two stories together as skillfully as any novelist, but the difference here is that these two stories really happened. Absolutely gripping!

Mar 15, 2014
  • weali rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Only about a fifth of this book is about H. H. Holmes. The rest is about the World Fair--it's a good book unless you're looking for a true crime...

Jan 11, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was wonderful. My cousin recommended I read it. I had gotten it at a Barnes and Noble where it was buy 2 get the 3rd free and the back sounded interesting. My Aunt also backed it so I picked it up as soon as I finished what I was on. It took a little while to get used to the writing style as he writes as a historian. He gives factual and quoted backgrounds of his characters which is what made it so interesting. There are quotes from individuals and newspapers about his people. I loved that this book actually happened, maybe not all of it but the history is there and it is absolutely fascinating. A must read for anyone who loves history, murder, architecture, mystery and really mayhem mixed with desperation.

Jun 15, 2013
  • kowalskim rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very good read. Combines a little tale of terror and heartbreak with interesting Chicago history. Loved it.

Apr 29, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Although there are two story lines, it's the one about the psychopathic serial killer that I'll most remember. The author jumps around alternating between the stories, which was distracting in a few places. I liked the epilogue at the end, which relates what happened to the main characters after the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 ended.

Apr 09, 2013
  • Susan1883 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Good cross between history and novel - brings the Chicago of the 1890's to life in a compelling way.

loved this book and i recomanded

Feb 28, 2013
  • SpencerSpencer rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fascinating and spellbinding book that combines elements of true crime, American history, murder mysteries, psychology, popular culture, and urban planning. This book incorporates them all. The American and human spirit at their highest and lowest are thoroughly analyzed. Interesting story about American culture and urban growth.

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Nov 12, 2012
  • Brenda74 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Brenda74 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Dec 16, 2010
  • notTom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Between majestic architecture and cold-blooded murder, the early 1890's were a defining period for the city of Chicago. The Colombian Exposition of 1893 (the World's Fair of 1893, so named to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America) proved that Chicago could put its elbows on the table of the world's greatest cities. It hugely impacted the course of American history through its influence on technology, architecture, and the popular conscience. This book weaves together the stories of Daniel Burnham, a prominent architect in charge of planning the Exposition, and Herman Webster Mudgett, better known to history as H.H.Holmes, America's first serial killer. Opening a hotel just down the Midway from the fair, Holmes was ensured of a constant flow of trusting young women. What his ill-fated guests did not realize was the presence of air-tight rooms with gas-jets, a greased body chute and the basement containing vats of acid and a crematorium. In the style of Truman Capote, this is a non-fiction novel, a gripping account of deeds of great and evil men alike, made all the more interesting because these events really happened.

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Version red_eye (red_eye) Last updated 2014/08/29 10:58