...as a person who grew up in Wilmette, IL, it's very hard to hear the narrator pronounce it "wil-MEAT" over and over again. It's "Wil-MET".
No, it's too long.
It's not high up on the list, I'll say that.
The story is really really detailed, which is nice, but makes it feel drawn out. The reading is also quite monotone. I wouldn't recommend it as a roadtrip book since it might make you fall asleep.
The story was a slow mover and so was the reading... so yeah.
The description of the woman's death inside the improvised gas chamber, leaving her footprint on the wall was particularly moving.
The reader is fantastic, I was completely taken in by the great performance. The story appeals to me because of the marvelous weaving of construction, show business, and psychopathic behavior in a manner that is rare and remains entertaining throughout. The epilogue and post epilogue are not to be missed. He sums up the book and describes the incredible hands-on research the author did to arrive at such a well told and accurate story. No guessing, or second hand information, he got the facts correct. From prime sources. Great contribution to American history and literature in my opinion. And to architecture and city planning trades -- and how difficult it is to do something great. There are so many against it, particularly accountants and bankers. But Burnham and his dedicated followers would not relent and gave us, perhaps, the largest and best Worlds Fair ever. A landmark in the development of beautiful places to move America closer to Europe's concept of wonderful public spaces.
The architectural descriptions and emotional transfers to the listener. However, the gruesome parts are a bit too gruesome, I had to turn down the volume and not-listen to the most graphic 20 minutes (scattered throughout the book). But in the end, I was uplifted by the story of the bad guy's capture.
His great grasp of language and the skill at giving us just enough emotion to get the point across without over-doing it. Never boring, always listenable. He is 5-star. I have not listened to any of his other performances.
The closing ceremonies description and the descriptions of what went on in the Rookery (a building that is still standing, and in someone pristine condition). The ending wrap of of how Sol Blume went from poverty to riches and back again -- and then on to greater things. That is an uplifting thought, you can be up or down, but in the end, it is your mental attitude and learning from all experiences that builds a person to make an even great contribution to mankind while pursuing somewhat self interests.
Few will regret listening to this book, but the graphic details are too much for young people, so the book loses the potential to be a high school "read". Yet, without the Devil in the story, it might be good history reading for teens and young adults. It is a graphic and memorable warning that psychopaths can fool just about anyone. We all have to stay a bit on guard. "I never suspected him" is ringing in my ears -- as that's why psychopaths can achieve so much mayhem before being uncovered (often accidentally). They are such good liers and deceivers no one can imagine their evil intentions.
This book sort of surprised me - didn't know that it intertwined the building of the Chicago's World Fair and the story of a mass murderer (all of it true) into a book. It wasn't as good as the other Erik Larson books I've read, but given that I'm not into murder mysteries I made it through and it was pretty good. If you're interested in architecture or the city of Chicago back in the late 1800s, it's quite fascinating.
Professor of American and World History at a community college. Enjoys hard science fiction, space fantasy and space opera, fantasy, and historical narratives. Heck, I'll read anything once!
I would, in that it encourages you to slow down and pay attention. This book is chock full of so many details that if you blank out, you'll miss something. Fortunately, the story, events, and characters involved (all real and un-embellished) are sufficiently gripping that fading out is unlikely!
It's a slow build, but the gradual reveal of just how terrible and terrifying Dr. H.H. Holmes really was is very memorable. Most of the book builds detail upon detail, not just of the events of the Columbian Exposition, but also of the growing madness and murder of Holmes. The eventual reveal of both is splendid.
The book isn't really scenic in its construction. It's more a pair of steady, building narratives describing two events co-mingling in both time and location. This isn't fiction, it's a historical narrative of actual events. What's so endearing and intriguing about it is the lack of embellishment--every event you hear is real.
I'd never done much research of study into the events of H.H. Holmes. The idea that here was not only our first known serial killer but, still to this day, possibly our most prolific. Jack the Ripper, pheh!
Lovely narration, solid information, steady drumbeat pacing. All in all, an excellent listen!
I would not recommend this book to a friend. I was looking forward to listening/reading this book. My husband and I both struggled to get into what we thought would be a gripping story. There is so much going on and so many details in the book, that you just get lost and bored while listening..... disappointing.
I've already started Jim Gaffigan and am looking for another mystery/thriller that will be good.
Yes, and it would be the first time I think a movie would be better than the book. Leo is already cast, but I thought Jude Law would've been good for Dr. Holmes.
I'll probably give it another go and see if I can get into it, but I've already moved on to others.
I enjoyed the book but struggled to finish it. The author and narrator are really excellent but even as someone who is quite intrigued with history and architecture I found myself bored with some of the Burnham stories. I would still recommend this book.
A different author!
None - he was never a character - he is an excellent reader and the only reason I finished the book.
I would have redone the whole book.
This book was "highly" recommended and I really hated it. It is long and boring and drawn out and the jumps between the World's Fair activity and Holmes really didn't cut it for me. I don't know what I expected but I am sorry I wasted a credit on this one.
One note on the positive the only reason I could slog through this book was Scott Brick, I really enjoy his voice and reading ability.