This book is a well-researched true story. I learned a lot about the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, the events, and personalities that were involved..
This book fulfilled the interests of two of my favorite topics to read about: history and serial killers
Janis in Oregon
Yes. This is yet another non-fiction thriller by Erik Larson; well researched, well written, suspenseful, informative, and an eye-opening narrative on a moment in history that has long been neglected and often misrepresented. This book is simply outstanding. The listener knows that the Lusitania is sunk, yet the suspense that is built-up and the listener's interest that is garnered is astonishing. An amazing literary feat.
I think the clarity of the story, the players, and the events enriched my feeble knowledge of the sinking of the Lusitania. High School and College textbooks of my time did not dwell on these events with more than a page or two in rather dully presented scholarly tomes.
I don't know that there was a specific character. Scott Brick's talented narration of non-fiction is legion. His voice is moderated throughout so that my mind does not wander off, nor does it annoy the listener. He has a great medium voice that resonates well, not too fast, not boring.
No. It is a long narrative and I planned on a number of sessions to complete my listening. I chose to listen to this book while on a 2-week cruise around New Zealand and Australia; it lent an edginess to the cruise for sure.
This is my third, and so far, the best of the Erik Larson books. Usually he does a two-layer narrative that alternatively builds in excitement. In Dead Wake, there are really three layers - the sinking of the Lusitania and what led up to it, the emerging war in Europe exposing the German aggression, and lastly, President Wilson, recently widowed, who finds a new love - distracting him from his real role as the leader of the country.
There are many interesting tidbits about leaders such as Churchill, who probably ignored the dangers to the Lusitania hoping to get America into the war. Then Churchill set out to blame the captain of the ship rather than reveal the secret maneuvering by him and his council that assisted in the sinking and high level of fatalities. Lots of feet of clay out there.
As this is such a long book, this should not be surprising, however the book often drags and drags and anybody who obtains the book solely for the learning of Holmes will be disappointed as their is a great deal more time spent on the fair.
The performance is lacking, with the reader repeating lines a multitude of times, and just not hitting the tone that would keep readers interested for the story more so than for the information it gives
In short, good for history buffs who wish to learn more about Chicago and the American way of life in the late 1800s, but otherwise the tale isn't anything that can't be summed up in much less than 16hrs.
The story was interesting and the writing and language beautiful but it was all a bit too much and too lengthy. I fully realize this is my personal, non-expert opinion but I found it to be a very average book.
I was interested in the story of the psychopath killer but not in the development of the Chicago World Fair...disappointingly boring when discussing architectural landscaping & congressional meetings especially after a thrilling depiction of a sadistic murder...
I am so glad I did. I hope you give it a chance, it's great.
I was recommended this book by my girlfriend, who spoke excitedly of the murder and intrigue surrounding H. H. Holmes. As such, I was expecting the story to center primarily around him and his exploits. Given that perspective, my review is biased, but readers should be aware that Holmes, while a significant part of the story, is featured far less frequently than discussions of the fair, the history of the city, etc. There is often more detail given to, for example, listing all the individual types of foods that certain rich individuals had on offer at their banquets, or to enumerating all of the species of flowers another character ordered for himself. If you're looking to learn a great deal about the fair, and to spend a little time with a wide range of characters, you'll be perfectly content with this book - and I did learn a lot. But, personally, the allure for me was Holmes.
Furthermore, given that the title of this book isn't "The White City (and also there's a Devil in it)," but, "THE DEVIL in the White City," I find it hard to believe that Larson didn't intentionally play up Holmes' role in the story, knowing it would attract a wider audience. I don't really object to this from a marketing standpoint, but it did make for a disappointing "read." Given that the opening passages set up some huge, looming confrontation between good and evil, I was expecting a climactic resolution to Holmes' saga, but the closest the story comes to is in telling how the detectives eventually found him out, which comes at the very end. Furthermore, most of the other major players in the book aren't really good or evil, but amoral - they are nearly unanimously driven by profit, personal gain, and glory.
Overall, I would never call this a BAD book by any means. It's clear that Larson spent a huge amount of time and effort researching the subject matter and presenting it in an easily understood, and generally interesting way. But given how primed I was for the book to focus more extensively on Holmes, I found the seemingly endless chapters about construction logistics, labor unions, and banquets to just be mildly infuriating. I would have enjoyed the book far more, I believe, if I had expected it to be a slower-paced overview of the history of the world's fair, with Holmes' exploits included by necessity, rather than a story about Holmes set against the backdrop of the fair, which it is very definitely not.
This is my first Scott Brick performance, but it was an excellent read. The audio quality was high, and his delivery was top-notch. I would definitely be happy to hear more readings from him in the future.
"An exhaustive, historically accurate listing of all the things that happened leading up to, and after, the Chicago World's Fair, and also some murders by a bad man."
Once again: I think this book could be given 5 stars for the reader who is sufficiently "primed." I think I'm just frustrated with the publisher, or whoever handled the marketing/advertising for the book, and possibly with my own preconceptions, more than the author himself, or his work. Unfortunately, these preconceptions came close to ruining the experience for me. Knowing his style, I would definitely read more of Larson's offerings in the future, albeit with adjusted expectations.
First, let me say that this story is amazing and interesting. I can visualize any one of these plots being it's own movie. After listening to this, I even bought the book version for my husband who was very interested in reading it (he doesn't listen to books).
The issue I had was the narrator. I did not enjoy him. I found him very boring. It felt like he was just reading the book to me, not telling me a story. I could only listen in small increments, as he was very hard to stay interested in. The story itself is the only thing that kept bringing me back. It was a struggle to get through with his voice narrating it. Maybe I've listened to too many other audible books that have a great performance, so my expectations were high, but seriously, I really struggled to stay interested.
Another small issue, could've just been a glitch, but it happened a lot, was at the beginning of chapters, he would read the first sentence and then read it again. I think it was the software somehow repeating, not that he actually read it again, but it got to be really bothersome about the sixth to tenth time.
Also, there were no chapter numbers to alert you when you were on a new chapter. You kind of struggle to understand where he is going with something and then you realize that maybe the words he said (in the same monotone as the readings) were probably the chapter titles.
Overall, the story was well written, and intriguing. The only issue was the narrator. I felt he detracted from the overall story and really I just wanted to stop listening to him. I could only go in about 30 minute spurts because of it. I listen to a lot of books while I work, but this is a book I wish I had read.
Just a warning, this is predominantly about the Chicago Worlds Fair and is fascinating in it's description of the historical context, people and events that surrounded it. People going in expecting a lot of macabre detail on HH Holmes may be put off by the amount of time spent discussing the logistics of architecture.
That shouldn't be seen as a negative though, it is a very well written book for a largely historical account and contains some very beautiful prose and structure, it feels as lovingly crafted as the worlds fair itself.