The juxtaposition of the murder stories and the history of the Chicago Worlds Fair. I love history, but prefer it in a story format so this was right up my alley.
Scott Brick's reading style just killed this one for me. Be sure to listen to a sample before you commit to hours of his style of reading. There's no dialog, so it's just you and Scott. He reminded me of the self-important newscaster on the old Mary Tyler Moore show. The books has lots of interesting historical facts, but I think would be better read than listened to. All those details and dates you would have scanned in a book are boomed into your ears. Skip it.
Of the 30+ books I've listened to since 2009, The Devil in the White City is one of the best experiences. Erik Larson's writing is sublime. He conjures the Chicago of the late nineteenth century so clearly that he might be documenting events that occurred yesterday. The stories about the design, organization, and construction of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair as well as the personalities involved are all utterly fascinating. The macabre portions that deal with serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes are so bizarre as to almost be unbelievable. While listening to this book, I found myself continually thinking, "Truth truly is stranger than fiction."
Prior to my listen I was apprehensive about the narrator, Scott Brick, who had also done Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life. I felt that Brick's reading of that book was slightly stilted, but his performance of Devil in the White City is pitch perfect.
My first foray into historical fiction. As I was flying to Chicago I listened to this book. It was brilliant. I eventually annoyed everybody discussing the many facts I discovered about Chicago's World's Fair. But the listen was beautifully narrated and was extremely entertaining. A great read! You won't be disappointed.
The portrait of our nation's first serial killer, that we were aware of, is more interesting than the politics behind Chicago's World Fair. Perhaps I wasn't listening close enough--but I fail to see the connection. This is a book to read rather than listen to...to get the most out of it.
If I lose focus, I can always flip back through the pages for clarification. Not as easy on an MP3 player.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
There really are 2 very different stories in this book. One is about a serial killer and the other is about the planing, building, and excuse of the Chicago's World Fair. The two share common themes and there is plenty of darkness in both stories. In fact quiet a bit more darkness then I was able to take in places. I found the story line of the world fair wonderful and personally could have done without the serial killer.
Performance was an easy listen and drew me into each segment.
Yes, very apt to have listened continuously
While I'm not a history buff, I enjoyed learning about the Worlds Fair in general and the back story kept my interest
I love history and murder suspense stories are another of my favorite categories but this book just didn't catch my intrest. Scott Brick is always wonderful narrating but even he couldn't salvage this story. The few little facts of interest kept me going along with the recommendation of a friend. But I just can't say I will EVER bother going back to this one.
Member of two book clubs. Listen more than read. Love Audible because I can go about my day while listening to books. Thanks Audible.
Maybe number One. I have since bought the print version just to keep with the other 10 or so books I would take to a deserted island if I could. I will listen over again many times.
To Kill a Mockingbird and many others. It educated me, entertained, shocked, saddened, and gave me so many other feelings. I put aside important chores to listen. I refer to the book and its Bibliography. I listen to parts again to remember just how things were in those times. So glad I bought it.
No. His reading was good. I could listen to more he has performed
Yes. I wanted so much to know what happened next. Great writing.
You can tell Erik Larson does his homework when he writes. I have another book of his and it was just as well researched. I would love to have more of his work.
I found myself looking for excuses to drive for errands to get more listening time in.