This book tells 2 stories - the behind-the-scenes history of the Columbia Exposition, and the behind-the-scenes story of a serial killer. If you're looking for a true crime story, this is not it. But if you want some really good perspective of the heavenly Columbia Exposition juxtaposed with the hellish world of H. H. Holmes, this is a great listen. It's an interesting combination that led me to read more specific books on both the Exposition and Holmes.
Bottom line, I would call this an "Atmospheric History" book. If that's not your cup of tea, pick something else.
Okay book. I used to live in Chicago and appreciate the details. However, AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN'T STAND SCOTT BRICK? I'd probably give the book five stars, but the narration kills it for me. It's this endless barrage of patronizing (and yet cheesy) narration. Scott Brick makes every book sound like the frickin' da Vinci Code. But, hey, maybe I'm being too hard. Can someone enlighten me as to what's so great about Scott Brick? I'm considering not ever getting an audiobook narrated by him again.
I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it ... in fact, I only bought it because I think I would even buy and enjoy listening to Scott Brick narrating the entire NYC telephone directory!
It took me a couple of hours to "get into" the book ... as much as I enjoy histories, this seemed a little bit dry ... but then I got into the rhythm ... and it came to life.
If you've ever been to Newport, Rhode Island, and you've seen the incredible cottages of the "Gilded Age" or been to the mountains of North Carolina to visit the Biltmore, or even if your only "taste" of the history of the era was the movie "Titanic" you'll appreciate this masterwork docu-drama-mystery!
I've spent some time in Chicago, so the areas, buildings, and names were familiar. I've spent time there in brutal summer heat, and in agonizing winter's cold, which gives even more understanding to the environment. I remember attending the New York World's Fair way, way back in the 1960's and thinking about the amazing feat of putting that together ... and to interpolate that task back to the 1890's was wonderful fun!
I heartily recommend it!
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
While I normally prefer my books unabridged, in this case, I think I would have prefered the less detailed version. Because the book is based upon real people with real relationships, I found that I got bogged down trying to keep track of minor characters. I also kept expecting that Holmes and Burnham would somehow meet. (An idea that I found intriguing because it is so implausible).
It's a well researched and well presented history, and very well read, but too rich for my taste in an audible book.
This is a fascinating listen intertwining the story of the Chicago World's Fair in the late 1800's with the tale of a mass murderer haunting the environs around the fair. I had hesitated getting this, thinking it might be dry and uninteresting since I live far from that area but it reads like a novel and a mystery and the narrator does a great job. I was drawn into the story almost immediately and was eager to listen whenever I could. Some of the facts about products developed and areas of the country affected by events of the fair were particularly interesting to learn.
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!
This book was superb from start to finish. Great detail and historical research was incredible. Being a Chicago native, I was fascinated by the architectural significance that the Colombian Exposition had on the city, and the rest of the country. Not to mention the diabolical HH Holmes. Masterfully told!
I chose this book because of recommendations on Audible even though I was somewhat taken aback by the subject matter -- architecture and World's Fairs can be kind of dry and serial killers are a bit too sensational for my usual reading tastes. I'm so glad I took a chance on it, though. It's a fascinating book about a fascinating time in American history. While the two lines of the story may seem unrelated, together they give a very provocative picture of late 19th century Chicago society. It's a long book, but I was really sorry when it ended. I wanted the story to go on.