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The Devil in the White City Audiobook

The Devil in the White City

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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

4.2 (11425 )
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4.3 (8493 )
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4.4 (8463 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Matt 05-03-16
    Matt 05-03-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "If you love Chicago and it's history, then gear up"

    Thoughtful, factual, and entrancing. I lost myself daily while listening to this. I can almost picture it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    myszjenny 05-03-16
    myszjenny 05-03-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow and demented"

    I struggled to finish this but eventually managed. So many quotes and not enough action. Small amounts of action were hard to listen to. Epilogue was good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olive 05-01-16
    Olive 05-01-16
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    "Deceptive Title"
    What did you like best about The Devil in the White City? What did you like least?

    What the book is supposed to be about: H.H. Holmes as per the cover and publisher's description. Clearly, Larson did not have enough information about Holmes for a stand-alone book, so readers are fooled into buying this.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Erik Larson? Why or why not?

    Only after careful review


    Any additional comments?

    As it really is: 90% excruciating minutia about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with tidbits interspersed about Holmes. If I wanted to know every boring detail about the Fair, I could have looked up dissertations through my school's library. The publisher purposefully wrote a enticing descriptor, knowing full well that readers would buy the book expecting a story about Holmes. That is NOT the focus of this book, yet the clever Vintage editor realizes that readers will wade through it anyway. Not appreciated. At all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brutusmuktuk 04-27-16 Member Since 2015
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    8
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    Story
    "Holmes story much more interesting than Chicago story"

    This book tells two stories: that of the World's Fair in Chicago and that of a serial killer named H.H. Holmes. While listening to the story of Holmes I was riveted. The Chicago story too is interesting, but I found my mind wandering and I rarely felt a desire to go back and listen to what I missed. Perhaps it would read differently if I read it rather than listened to it. The reader does an excellent job. His deep voice feels appropriate for a Lovecraft horror story, and it is appropriate for a real life serial killer story as well. I do understand that Larsen wants to make a point about evil lurking behind progress, but I still would have liked to see a little more Holmes and a little less architecture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer F. Turner 04-27-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Read"

    What an interesting and well written book. I was thoroughly intrigued through the entire thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 04-26-16
    Daniel 04-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Very very very good book."

    This book is absolutely excellent, I have the book in hardcopy but with a 9-to-5 I hadn't found the time to read it, all the more reason to buy this audiobook. This is my first time buying a audiobook and I'm very glad I did. The story will keep you entranced throughout, cover to cover.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin 04-26-16
    Justin 04-26-16
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    "too long"

    this book was good but at times seemed like he was rambling on and could have been made much shorter to get this point across

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaitlyn 04-25-16
    Kaitlyn 04-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent book"

    Honestly the only reason this doesn't get five stars across the board is because the density of information in this book is overwhelming for an audio book at times. There is no ability to skim some of the in depth historical recitations that create a wonderful scene for the story, but aren't as compelling as some of the personal storylines that drive you through the book. Still, it's a really well performed and adeptly written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alishia penk 04-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "More Holmes Less Fair"

    I really was disappointing by this book, the story was so much more about the building of the fair than of HH Holmes. I think it would make a good movie, because you could more easily see both story lines and how they tied to together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NubianPrincess Sacramento 04-20-16
    NubianPrincess Sacramento 04-20-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Two different stories"

    Ok I can see how this book would appeal to history buffs. I was more interested in the serial killer story but the majority of the story was spent discussing the building of the world's fair.
    Interesting in its own right but not for me. With that being said the research this book took is apparent. The narration was well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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