An interesting book, but sometimes a little hard to keep wholy engaged in. Lots of facts recited from old newspapers and other 3rd party writings - strung together in such a way to make a whole story. Reminded me almost exactly in both style and substance of the hundreds of similar stories cranked out by the History Channel on cable TV. Of course without the visuals.
I downloaded this book because I am a great fan of Scott Brick and because of the great initial reviews. However, I find myself "zoning out" due to long winded repetitve descriptions of everything. How many hours does it take to establish that the Chicago project is going to be difficult if not impossible? First book I couldn't finish and first negative review.
I didnt think it was possible to listen to a book that was more boring than Isaac's Storm. It is. This is a disjointed rambling of unconnected, often times pointless facts that just happen to somewhat parallel the story and life of one of the dullest serial killers ever. Dont waste your time and money.
i couldnt get through the 2nd part. it was just too boring. you can easily get this book summed up by googling or visiting wikipedia on "chicago world's fair" and "holmes".
not recommeded. i really should ask for my audible credit back or better yet, the hrs i wasted listening to it.
This reads like a novel. Two parallel stories: the Chicago World's Fair and a mass murderer. I found the World's Fair narrative more to my liking. If you a Chicago history buff this is a must. At any rate...very well done.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
I'm still trying to figure out why Erik Larson thought putting these two stories together was such a good idea. Each could have been a book by itself, one a really good true crime novel, and the other a great book for people interest in 19th century architecture. Trying to keep up with the exploits of serial killer H H. Holmes, while being bored to tears with the minutiae of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and its creators, is about as close to childbirth as you can get. Each story is very well researched, although Holmes' story contains more about the events around him rather than the depraved crimes he committed. And the overwhelming detail of the Fair are more boring than interesting or entertaining. If you want to check this book out, save some money and get the abridged account. I actually fell asleep during about 7 hours in the middle of this book and didn't miss a thing!
Larsen clearly did his homework in researching "The Devil in the White City", and he has provided a painstaking chronicle of the history of the Chicago World's Fair. I enjoyed the contrast of the White City (the Fair) and the Black City (serial murder), and I like the way the city of Chicago came alive as a character in the book. Nevertheless, the detailed back stories of the architects were dry, boring, and far too long. It also seemed as though the tempo of the book was disrupted when the author followed H.H. Holmes after he left Chicago. I was immensely interested in how he was caught, but the Chicago focus was lost.
I've not heard other books narrated by Scott Bricker, and frankly I felt that he did this book a disservice. He used an arrogant, haughty tone - perhaps appropriate for the passages about Holmes, who thought he was smarter than everybody else. But this pompous manner was unwavering throughout the book, so that the architects - the fair's movers and shakers - also came off as pretentious. I can't help but wonder if I would have liked the book better had I read the printed version...
Long winded to the point of distraction. However, some interesting details. Not altogether disappointed but would definetly NOT listen to this again. Two story lines occuring at the same time but little related. Could have made two separate reads. Perhaps the abridged version makes more sense, but I'm not going to relisten! With all the great reviews I was expecting more.
After reading the other reviews, I thought this book would be great. However, it was awful. Scott Brick is one of the best readers there is, but even he can't save this book. It is overly descriptive to the point of boredom, and takes over 3 hours of listening under you figure out what is going on. After 6 hours I quit!!!
On one hand, this book offers an interesting view of Chicago during the turn of the century and gives interesting insights into the issues that shaped modern American architecture. That's the "white city" bit. But the other part of the book -- the "devil" bit -- is poorly written and not nearly as detailed as the architectural history section. On the topic of "America's first urban serial-killer," Larsen offers little in the way of scholarship. He makes a big deal out of insisting that everything in quotation marks is accurate, but makes no such claim for anything else. He also judges the "likelyhood" of certain parts of the story based upon his own judgement of how monstrous serial-killers are in general. He does not create a "portrait of the mind of a killer" but a portait of how we would like to think a demon-posessed killer would think. For a better story about the mind of a murderer, check out _Under the Banner of Heaven_.
The serial killer part of the story never sufficently intersects the White City part of the story to justify the inclusion of the two narratives between the same covers. It feels tacked-on, as though Larson felt a story about the building of the White City alone would not sell.
Brick's reading of the book is excellent, but his talent is wasted on this relatively narrow story; he doesn't get to show off his skill with accents nearly as much here as he does in _the Company_.