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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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Erik Larson, author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts, intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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  • Excellent story-telling Nov 21, 2014
    by George T

    Erik Larson wrote a winner - parallel stories with a hard-to-believe story-line...I'm looking forward to "Thunderstruck", which I just purchased...four instead of five stars because not enough photos and/or diagrams were included which illustrated his points...

  • Super, Fantastic Thriller May 18, 2014
    by Louise T

    From the moment I opened the cover to the last page I could not stop reading. Not only is the murder mystery gripping but the history in this book is just super. You will learn so much about the history of a world's fair/exhibition, the city of Chicago and of America.

  • Riveting Aug 16, 2013
    by Karen K

    I bought this book because of my interest in serial killers, the Victorian era... and genealogy.

    H.H. Holmes, whose real name was Herman Webster Mudgett, was a distant cousin to me on quite a few lines, our common ancestors having been the first settlers of Hampton, New Hampshire.

    He was a compulsive liar, swindler, bigamist, narcissist, and murderer, and an undoubtedly repulsive specimen of humanity. Because he could never tell the same story twice, it is unlikely how many people he actually murderered. But his hotel, 'the Castle", was evidently his killing grounds-- though no hard evidence can be given for this, other than newspaper articles of the time.

    This book is a page-turner, well-written, and I like how the author parallels the excitement of the late Victorian era's technological wonders with the darker, more nefarious realities of rampant crime.

    "Holmes" chose his setting-- a big city, where people appear and disappear without anyone giving much notice-- for a purpose.

    A must-read for those interested in true crime, serial killers, and 19th century history.

  • The Devil in the White City Nov 15, 2012
    by stevespice

    This is a fascinating book. Anyone who is interested in the history of the city of Chicago should read it. There is also a lot about the history of America. I highly recommend this book.

  • Interesting history of Chicago Jan 19, 2012
    by Melba C

    I love books written about this period in time. An enjoyable read, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if my family had lived in Chicago.

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