Stepped away from this one after listeneing for about three hours. Maybe I'll go back to it later and it will get better. Pretty slow, narraration made me feel sleepy and unfocused. Couldn't really get into the actual story.
This is a wonderfully engaging story and you'll learn a tremendous amount about the time period and players involved in two very different but very massive undertakings in Chicago around the eve of the Worlds Fair. The true historical events are told as compellingly (and in the style of) a novel. As a result it is a very easy to digest read but one I feel the writer, by nature, has had to take liberties filling in gaps. When we step inside the heads of some characters, or we hear intimate details of moments before some horrible murder (most of, if not all Holmes took to his execution) we have to assume more than a hundred years time lapse has earned Mr.Larson some wiggle room. My only complaint is he isn't more upfront regarding it, and doesn't often take time to differentiate when having to speculate. That being said take the story as a whole as truth, and the details 90% truth as well. It's a very very well researched true fiction novel, but not a textbook and not a definitive source for scholars to reference, in my opinion. The narration is perfect and condones a perfect mood of grandeur and determination to the subject matter. I suggest it to almost anyone.
I enjoyed this book very much. The study of Holmes his killings and fraudulent career is fascinating as a stand alone story. Against the story of the fair and it's foundation in aesthetics and patriotism the two lenses bring turn of the century Chicago into beautiful focus.
Christian Colburn West Chester, PA
amazing book. I found myself staying awake to listen, and have a new found love of the world's fair. great story and narration.
I was amazed at how well Larson could weave the two stories together - and I picked up tidbits of history at the same time. Fascinating and fluid.
I can't tell if it is the writing or the narration that is the source of my trouble with this book. But the combination of the two leads to an campily dramatized and overwrought narrative. It seems to give grand and dark weight to even trivial details. You expect every line could be accompanied by ominous organ music. The obvious concealing of well known facts until their dramatic reveal grows tiresome and feels unnecessarily manipulative. The book is obviously well researched, I just wish the gravity of the noir could've been more contrasted with levity of the fair.