The Devil in the White City
Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaBook - 2003
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's 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 fairgrounds--a 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. 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.
To find out more about this book, go to http://www.DevilInTheWhiteCity.com.
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From Library Staff
One of the country's first serial killers capitalized on the chaos of the Chicago World's Fair and was able to murder dozens of people under the radar.
Love true crime? Pick up this, the story of H. H. Holmes, who lured young women to their deaths during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
ArapahoeKati Aug 05, 2016
Probably one of the more famous true crime books written, this one covers the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and a devious serial killer named H.H. Holmes who lured his victims into his "Murder Castle."
ArapahoeSarahD Dec 09, 2016
Do you know why Chicago is called the "Windy City"? What is the "White City"? Do you know how the World's Fair was brought to Chicago after much debate?
Did you know that America's most prolific serial killer lived there? Did you know that there are still missing person... Read More »
AL_CHRISTINES Oct 16, 2016
Two brilliant men, one an architect of beauty, the other of murder. Both men amazingly creative and inventive, the shocking and horrific tale of H.H. Holmes by no means overshadows Burnhams life, nor the brilliant planning and building of the World's Fair. This book could be two separate books b... Read More »
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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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