March 21, 2013

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

Description: An account of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event—architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.
My review: I’ve been meaning to read this one for a few years now, and I finally picked it up. I love Chicago, history, and true crime, so it’s no surprise that I liked this book. I didn’t know much about the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair before reading this, but the book provided plenty of details about the planning and construction of the fair. The book alternates chapters about the architect, Burnham, and the serial killer, Mudgett. Sometimes I found myself hoping that the sections about the architect and the fair would move just a little faster so I could get to the parts about the serial killer because they were more intriguing. I enjoyed Tony Goldwyn's narration of the audiobook, and I think listening to the audio version helped hold my attention better than reading the print book would have, especially during the extremely detailed chapters about the fair.
I recommend The Devil in the White City to readers for its well-researched historical information mixed with an engrossing account of true crime. Some parts of it read almost like a novel, so even those who don’t normally enjoy nonfiction should give this one a try.


Evan Williamson said...

Loved this book. Deep and engrossing with a touch of wonder and macabre. I'm glad you liked it and I can't believe people that have never heard of this book. Must spread the word. Very good review.

Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info said...

I love Eric Larson for his narrative nonfiction. As a rule I am not a nonfiction reader, but his is so easy. My only complaint with this book, was that I really wanted to see pictures! I didn't do the audio, so it is good to know that is well done. Thanks you for the review!

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