The story of two men's obsessions with the Chicago World's Fair, one its architect, the other a murderer. "The Devil in the White City" draws the ...Show synopsisThe story of two men's obsessions with the Chicago World's Fair, one its architect, the other a murderer. "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.Hide synopsis
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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.
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.
As a history and psychology teacher, this was the best of both worlds. Very easy to get into, couldn't put it down, wonderful details, absolutely absorbing. I really liked the pace and how each chapter switched so you were always wanting more details! This one's a keeper and I'm sure I'll reference details from it in the future.
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