I'm not from Chicago. I never talked to anyone who relayed any story about the Fair. I listened to this book because of the reviews. The worst thing about the experience is that when you are done, it is very difficult to talk to anyone who hasn't read it--about it. Its hard to make a World's Fair interesting that closed its doors before the memory of any living person. But Erik Larson accomplishes this. And does it very well.
Scott Brick makes any book better and he is at his best transporting us across the country to another place--forgetting for awhile that it was also another time. I don't know if I would call it riveting--but close---and I will never look on a Ferris Wheel again and not think of this book.
I loved this book, If you like history you will love, love, love this book! so many first inventions of so many things IE: food, buildings, travel, mentions of the Titanic, the great chicago fire, Jack the ripper, wild Bill Hickock, so much happened between 1893 and the turn of the century it truely is amazeing, and inside look at how people really lived then, super interesting, a great audio book I couldn't wait to go for my walks everyday so I could learn more about history and also about the story, which is true.I highly recommend this book.
This book was riviting from start to finish. A fascinating story that revealed some of the facts and events that have made Chicago a city filled with architectural wonders. It shows how architecture shapes our thinking. But since part of the book was also about a sociopathic killer at the in 1900 Chicago, but telling the two stories we get an experience of life in American from 1890 to 1910 that more real than anything I've read on the era. This audio was so good, that for the first time I want to read it again, right away!
I loved this book. The history of the Chicago World's Fair is fascinating - Larson brings it alive. I held back from listening to it for years as I was concerned about gory details of "the Devil" Mr. Holmes. No fears! Firstly, it is a small part of the book and secondly the author is not graphic about the murders except perhaps at one place. Interesting because Larson is beautifully descriptive about he architecture and the World's Fair experience.
Very well written book toggles between the horrific story of a serial killer and a fascinating account of how the Chicago World's Fair was conceived and executed. I could have done without the serial killer part, but if you like creepy thrillers, you won't have that issue with the book. I was mesmerized by every single word of how the World's Fair came into being.
Gift Subscription for my lovely wife.
Nice narration, fascinating story - I had to go online and look up the photos of the White City as I was listening to it.
I am rarely seen without my headphones on and my iPod clipped on my waist. I love my books.
For those who gave this book one star...I don't get how they could. Over 1500 people gave rave reviews, so how could so many be wrong. This is a very well written and well read book. I love Scott Brick and I have yet to hear a bad narration from him. This book is an education as well as entertainment. Worth every one of its five stars.
always looking for my next 'driveway' book
This is one of those books I base my future reads on. My only critism is the link between the 2 stories is a little weak, time and place only. I would have preferred even more of his great writing be put to better use with a longer account of the independant stroylines into 2 separate books.
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!
Don't you just love a great story well told?
This is NOT "fictionalized" history. As the writer himself says "Not a single word in quotes in this book comes from anywhere but a reliable documented source." (or words to that effect.) The second story (a parallel serial killer) is terrifying in how using his charm and good looks and twisted but intelligent brain smoothly killed countless women. This is a "MUST READ" book for anyone who wants to know about an amazing and very intense few years in our nation's history at the turn of the century when even common light bulbs and AC v. DC current (one had to be chosen for the "Fair") were new concepts for an entire world.