The Devil in the White City by Erick Larson was published in 2003, and it’s been on my "I intend to read that some day list," for almost as long. Finally, I picked it up after another great review from a coworker. It is fascinating! The subtitle is, "Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America", and the book tells the parallel stories of Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and Henry H. Holmes, a serial killer who operated a hotel near the Fair. I am a big mystery reader, and I thought that I would find the serial killer story more interesting than that of the Fair. Definately not so. I became so fascinated with the Fair that I now have almost every other relevant title the Library owns at home to learn more. It was truly a pivatol time in history as technology began to allow things that had never before been possible. The Fair used more electricity than the entire city of Chicago! The first ever Ferris wheel was introduced as an attempt to out do the Eiffel Tower from the Paris World’s Fair (the forty-piece Iowa State Marching Band rode in one of the massive cars to play patriotic songs as invited guests made the first circuits sipping champagne and smoking cigars). New technologies also made it possible for Henry Holmes to hide a gas chamber in his "hotel" where he preyed on vulnerable women. This book is a snapshot in history of a fascinating time.
You are here: Home Staff Picks Blog
The Devil in the White City
by Susan on February 17th, 2009