Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 11-year-old daughter.
I'm sure people who loved this book will disagree with me but my expectations were far from met after wading through 15 hours of listening. I thought the connection between H.H. Holmes and the Chicago World's Fair was tedious at best. Larson might have done just as well to insert a photo of a scantily clad girl from the gay '90s every 25 pages or so. Of course, that would have proved problematic for Audible customers. If you like "architectural talk" and the behind-the-scences motivations of those involved in the trade, then this is a book for you. That's especially true if you also like a sprinkling of "serial killer story" with your description of building and landscape architecture. This book was well researched and well written, hence the three stars. It just wasn't for me. (The last 50 minutes summarized the first 14 hours and would have sufficed.)
I'm late catching this book, but am I ever glad that I finally acted on my friends' recommendations. If you're interested in 20th century American history -- or simply in histories and the ways their elements interact -- I can't see you going wrong with this one.
Who knew a history of the early 20th century in Illinois could bring together Mark Twain, cracker jack, Susan B. Anthony, Gentelman Jim Corbett, Woodrow Wilson, Shredded Wheat, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Clarence Darrow, Walt Disney, Theodore Dreiser, Leopold & Loeb, the electric chair, the ferris wheel, and even the Keeley Gold Cure.
It's a well read tale, a fascinating examination of "the fair that changed America," chock full of surprising information.
Excellent work of history. So many fascinating details and great character studies. Very worth the time invested.
These intersecting stories about the building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and a serial murderer are equally riveting and work perfectly together. The book is both entertaining and educational; a fascinating slice of American history!
This is one of those books that even though it might not be a favorite book, it's one you are glad you read. I really never knew anything about the Chicago fair or the Farris wheel. After listening to the book, I looked up the old pictures on the computer...just amazing.
This was one of the best books I've heard on Audible (and I listen to around 2 a week). True, there is a lot of detail, but unlike a few other readers, I didn't find one moment of it tedious.
I, of course, had heard of the Columbian Exposition, but I had no idea what a large role it played in the history of Chicago or the country. The descriptions of the building of the fair, the social classes and the side story about the murders gave me a good feel for the time and the attitudes of the people who lived then. It was also interesting to hear about people like Olmstead and how he worked.
I was fascinated by this book and spent a lot of time after I finished it looking at photos of the fair online.
The whole thing was like one of those great New Yorker articles about something you know nothing about but, once introduced, can't get enough of.
Although the book was an excellent book about the Worlds Fair. Title and blurb about the book was a little missleading. The book was more about the worlds fair than about the "devil". I expected details concerning H.H. Holmes. Instead I was given amazing insight into the construction and the logistics of designing and building the 1892 worlds fair. This book would have been better if it had been title The White City and dropped the devil part.
This was a most unexpected "read". The story of the Chicago World's Fair surprised me. I knew of the Fair, but the impact of this place and time on the history of the United States was amazing. I never had given any thought to the origins of the Ferris wheel and the amusement parks of today. Fascinating....
Also, I had never heard of HH Holmes... grusome as his deeds were, it was a compelling story. I think that the fact that it really happened was the strangest twist.
I am so glad Scott Brick narrated this unabridged version. I am glad I didn't opt for the abridged version, I would not have wanted to miss a single word.
Someone should make a movie of this book. I am listening to it for the second time. The narration was excellent! The Guilded Age is fascinating and the author's account of the Exposition and the maniac was VERY well done. I look forward to more of his work. History and high mystery - it doesn't get any better than this.
This is my favorite audible book so far. The narration is great, the interaction of the two story lines works really well and there are lots of interesting facts about the construction of the buildings and the exhibitions at the world's fair. I just wish it was even longer!