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.
The book in set in Chicago during the late 1800's and covers the World's Fair, politics of the day, architecture and murder. Overall I rated the book as three stars. At times it is very, very slow (I have listened to The History of Rome Vol I and II and believe me when I say I know slow). However the author has done a good job of describing the events of the day and I believe the actual book has photos that would help the reader get a sense of what he's talking about (which is of no use in an audio format).
If you are looking for a suspense novel this one isn't for you. If you want a book with history and a little intrigue then I would recommend it. Happy Listening
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 book was fascinating! As a life long resident of Chicago, I found this book to be a must read. It lead to a wealth of emotions from pride in the "Chicago spirit" which accomplished and continues to accomplish great things to the disgust at the lax manner in which human life was treated at that time. Contrary to what some reviewers wrote, I found the detail to paint a rich and deep picture of that time that reflected the spirit and mood of the Era, not only in Chicago, but the country as well. Highly recommended!