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The Devil in the White City | [Erik Larson]

The Devil in the White City

In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.
Regular Price:$35.93
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - A master storyteller and veteran thriller narrator join forces to create this riveting true account of Chicago’s famous World Fair. But behind its Gilded Age of architectural feats and electrical innovation, lies a murderer waiting in the wings. True crime, history, and thriller fans are in for a treat. —Diana M.

Publisher's Summary

In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

The White City (as it became known) was a magical creation constructed upon Chicago's swampy Jackson Park by Daniel H. Burnham, the famed architect who coordinated the talents of Frederick Olmsted, Louis Sullivan, and others to build it. Dr. Henry H. Holmes combined the fair's appeal with his own fatal charms to lure scores of women to their deaths. Whereas the fair marked the birth of a new epoch in American history, Holmes marked the emergence of a new American archetype, the serial killer, who thrived on the very forces then transforming the country.

In deft prose, Larson conveys Burnham's herculean challenge to build the White City in less than 18 months. At the same time, he describes how, in a malign parody of the achievements of the fair's builders, Holmes built his own World's Fair Hotel - a torture palace complete with a gas chamber and crematorium. Throughout the book, tension mounts on two fronts: Will Burnham complete the White City before the millions of visitors arrive at its gates? Will anyone stop Holmes as he ensnares his victims?

© 2003 Erik Larson; (P) 2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, Fact Crime, 2004

"A hugely engrossing chronicle of events public and private." (Chicago Tribune)
"Vivid history of the glittering Chicago World's Fair and its dark side." (New York Magazine)
"Both intimate and engrossing, Larson's elegant historical account unfolds with the painstaking calm of a Holmes murder."(Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (5035 )
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4.2 (2658 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    deborah 04-19-12
    deborah 04-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Intriguing way to review historical facts"
    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Performance was an easy listen and drew me into each segment.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, very apt to have listened continuously


    Any additional comments?

    While I'm not a history buff, I enjoyed learning about the Worlds Fair in general and the back story kept my interest

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 04-01-12
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Thrill For Me"

    I love history and murder suspense stories are another of my favorite categories but this book just didn't catch my intrest. Scott Brick is always wonderful narrating but even he couldn't salvage this story. The few little facts of interest kept me going along with the recommendation of a friend. But I just can't say I will EVER bother going back to this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Decatur, AL, United States 03-16-12
    Joe Decatur, AL, United States 03-16-12 Member Since 2011

    Member of two book clubs. Listen more than read. Love Audible because I can go about my day while listening to books. Thanks Audible.

    ratings
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    182
    4
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    "A Favorite, just like To Kill A Mockingbird"
    Where does The Devil in the White City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Maybe number One. I have since bought the print version just to keep with the other 10 or so books I would take to a deserted island if I could. I will listen over again many times.


    What other book might you compare The Devil in the White City to and why?

    To Kill a Mockingbird and many others. It educated me, entertained, shocked, saddened, and gave me so many other feelings. I put aside important chores to listen. I refer to the book and its Bibliography. I listen to parts again to remember just how things were in those times. So glad I bought it.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. His reading was good. I could listen to more he has performed


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I wanted so much to know what happened next. Great writing.


    Any additional comments?

    You can tell Erik Larson does his homework when he writes. I have another book of his and it was just as well researched. I would love to have more of his work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert NEW HAVEN, CT, United States 03-12-12
    Robert NEW HAVEN, CT, United States 03-12-12
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    "The story is mesmerizing"
    What made the experience of listening to The Devil in the White City the most enjoyable?

    I found myself looking for excuses to drive for errands to get more listening time in.

    The


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 03-09-12
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 03-09-12 Member Since 2010

    Auto Repair shop owner. I love Yoga, and playing my Fender Stratocaster. I Walk my dogs twice a day.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It makes you wonder"

    Why we don't have White Cities on the moon! Larson shows us a people who once were capable of doing anything. A people that could do anything with tools we would think impossible to the task. A people capable of going to the moon, or building a skyscraper on ground that could not support it, yet does to this day. In our day and age red tape would kill such fantastic efforts and dreams.

    To weave a mass murderer around 1900th century Chicago World's Fair was brilliant! The descriptions of life in Chicago makes you understand how clean our environment is today vs. yesteryear.

    This book made me look up some of the designs of old Chicago buildings, especially the Rookery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pbw Lewiston, UT, United States 03-02-12
    pbw Lewiston, UT, United States 03-02-12

    Not Asleep

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    1
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    "Fascinating"
    What made the experience of listening to The Devil in the White City the most enjoyable?

    Listened to it on my Blackberry Torch. Still astonished.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The dual stories intertwined.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Devil in the White City very applicable


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy TEMPERANCE, MI, United States 02-08-12
    Wendy TEMPERANCE, MI, United States 02-08-12 Member Since 2014

    wendellg

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    "Extended the interest"

    Several stories for the price of one, the Chicago Worlds Fair, buildings and people behind it, as well as the serial killer. Not only are the people a character, but the buildings and grounds feel as if they are characters themselves. I found myself googling information and pictures about Holmes, the Chicago Worlds Fair and the people behind the creation of the grounds and buildings while listening to the story, and after. It brought me in and drove me to want to know more. It really extended the story for me. I will definitely read/listen to this book again and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan United States 01-09-12
    Bryan United States 01-09-12 Member Since 2010
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    "A Most Interesting and Fine Historical Novel"
    If you could sum up The Devil in the White City in three words, what would they be?

    fascinating historical information


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Herman Mudgett. He was so incredibly evil.


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He saved my life. Had I read the book while driving, I probably would have wrecked my car and died.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Invention of the Ferris Wheel.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a real page turner all the way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stacy Folsom, CA, United States 01-03-12
    stacy Folsom, CA, United States 01-03-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Enlightening"
    Where does The Devil in the White City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I can't classify it w all the other audio books because of its unique story line and style. The story would be annoying if it weren't fact. But since it is fact it is very good and educational


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Buffalo bill. He was generous to the poor during difficult economic times.


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Scott brick is amazing. He helps me focus on the tedious important facts that could be lost if read


    If you could give The Devil in the White City a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The amazing adventures of the Chicago worlds fair


    Any additional comments?

    This book won't be for everyone. Put in perspective that it is an educational read first and a story second. In other words make sure you understand what to expect before reading

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Jacksonville, AL, United States 12-27-11
    Robin Jacksonville, AL, United States 12-27-11
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    "Excellent, but grim"

    Riveting story. A lot of historical detail, which interests me. but disturbing. Definitely want more from this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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