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.
"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)
Unless you enjoy violence toward women, I'd pass on this one. Even though it's couched in interesting historical anecdotes, I couldn't stand the run-up to sadism.
Lenin in Berlin
I don't think I would have enjoyed this story as much had I read the print version. Something about the subject matters makes the audio version so much more satisfying.
Absolutely! Very well narrated. Almost like a hollywood soundtrack...
The nature of the crimes presented in this book are almost unbelievable - but true!
All characters were very well detailed, complex and brilliantly crafted.
The only extreme reaction I had toward this book is intense fear...
I highly recommended this audio book to all true crime buffs.
This book was fascinating. The combination of a mystery and the history of the Chicago fair worked for me. I really enjoyed Scott Brick. If you like listening to popular histories, this is worth your time.
Well written.It cleverly merges two fascinating stories. I will read more Erik Larson, l enjoy his style of writing.
Don't pick one moment. The story holds you the entire time.
His narration is one of the most melodic and attention keeping of all the books I've listened. He is up there with Steven Fry, Patrick Tull, and David McCullough. I'm looking for other titles he's done.
Every year, around Halloween, I pick a thriller or scary book to read and get me into the mood of the season.
This time I went for this one having not read a true crime piece before now. It was an excellent choice.
The author expertly weaves the chilling tale of one of the countries earliest serial killers with the uplifting story of the Columbia World's Fair. It is beautifully done. I regretted finishing the book.
While not a thriller, it does supply its chills. I think that this was due to both the fact that it is a real account, and that the author was able to present a dual narrative of the wonder and triumph of the fair, and the depravity and cunning of Holmes.
I also got this on audiobook, and it was one of the most best ones yet. I usually don't listen to music when I run. The narrator was excellent.
The history and behind the scene's problems, which are probably the same today, were enlightening. Some of the people mentioned, whose products we use today, were fun to recognize. The mystery of Holmes could have been interesting, but was hit upon here and there, a tease, but not enough to make the book exciting.
I don't know.
This book would be tedious to anyone who not interested in the history of the Chicago world Fair.
Yes. What a great story!
The city of Chicago.
A city within a city and a freak at large.
Urge you to read this.
YES. I can work while I listen.
yes. I learned so much about on of the most remarkable world fairs, and one of the first serial killers in America - made Jack the Ripper look like mere mugger. This guy was doctor death and built a murder factory.
History is stranger than anything your could make up.
Amazing beauty mixed with horror so extreme you feel sick just thinking about it... and knowing it's all true makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
The story included such a wide range of interconnected stories: the first Farris wheel, america's first recorded cereal killer, landscape design, ambitions and city politics. It was very compelling.
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