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 used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and ...Read MoreErik 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 used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.Read Less
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...
May 18, 2014
Super, Fantastic Thriller
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.
Aug 16, 2013
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.
Nov 15, 2012
The Devil in the White City
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.
Jan 19, 2012
Interesting history of Chicago
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.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-12-16 Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted the ill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city's finest moment, the World's Fair of 1893. Larson's breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it. Bestselling author Larson (Isaac's Storm) strikes a fine balance between the planning and execution of the vast fair and Holmes's relentless, ghastly activities. The passages about Holmes are compelling and aptly claustrophobic; readers will be glad for the frequent escapes to the relative sanity of Holmes's co-star, architect and fair overseer Daniel Hudson Burnham, who managed the thousands of workers and engineers who pulled the sprawling fair together 0n an astonishingly tight two-year schedule. A natural charlatan, Holmes exploited the inability of authorities to coordinate, creating a small commercial empire entirely on unpaid debts and constructing a personal cadaver-disposal system. This is, in effect, the nonfiction Alienist, or a sort of companion, which might be called Homicide, to Emile Durkheim's Suicide. However, rather than anomie, Larson is most interested in industriousness and the new opportunities for mayhem afforded by the advent of widespread public anonymity. This book is everything popular history should be, meticulously recreating a rich, pre-automobile America on the cusp of modernity, in which the sale of "articulated" corpses was a semi-respectable trade and serial killers could go well-nigh unnoticed. 6 b&w photos, 1 map. (Feb.) Forecast: With this book, Larson builds on the success of Isaac's Storm. Anyone with an interest in American history-in particular fans of Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough-should find much to engross them here. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2003-03-03 This is a steady performance of a book that, while gripping in its content and crisply paced, isn't quite a gold mine for an audio performer. It relies on journalistic narration and includes almost no quotes, so there isn't much chance for interesting characterization. But it is excellent nonfiction, chronicling the hurly-burly planning and construction of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (which did, as the title suggests, include building what amounted to an entire city) and a cruelly calculating sociopath who used the event's tumult and crowds to serve his homicidal compulsion. Goldwyn is an experienced narrator with a keen dramatic sense, and his resonant voice is well-suited to the project. Music is used only sparingly, but the few subdued, creepy bars Goldwyn reads over in the beginning do an excellent job of creating atmosphere for a tale that is subtle but often genuinely unsettling. Listeners will also be fascinated by descriptions of the sheer logistics of the fair itself, which serve as not only carefully crafted and informative history, but also as welcome breaks from the macabre and relentless contrivances of the killer. In all, it's a polished presentation of an intriguing book that outlines the heights of human imagination and perseverance against the depths of our depravity. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 16, 2002). (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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