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The Devil in the White City Audiobook

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.
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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 (7502 )
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Performance
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  •  
    chris 03-10-15
    chris 03-10-15 Member Since 2013

    Love to walk and listen. Commute and listen. I typically enjoy well developed characters mixed with a good mystery.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Two interesting stories"
    Would you try another book from Erik Larson and/or Scott Brick?

    Probably not since I'm not a big history buff


    Would you recommend The Devil in the White City to your friends? Why or why not?

    I might recommend it to my Chicago friends or people who enjoy historical novels.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Since there were 2 stories I would have enjoyed a different spin on the murder story. It would help separate the back and forth.


    Did The Devil in the White City inspire you to do anything?

    Since I live in Chicago I am familiar with the landmarks and some of the architects. I may visit some of the museums for additional insight.


    Any additional comments?

    It's very clear there are 2 different stories that happen to be going on at the same time, but that is it. One story is about the fair which was intriguing and could have been written as one book. The other serial killer story would have been more interesting if there were more character development within the story itself. As it stands, the book was basically back and forth between the 2 unrelated stories. Sure, there is supposed to be a metaphor there, but it just wasn't strong enough to warrant how it was written. Both stories on their own would have been intriguing and interesting in their own right. In the end, I think the author chose to tell it like this because there wasn't enough factual evidence to create the one story. This thought comes from something within the book that you'll discover if you choose to listen. Based on that fact, I can respect his decision to tell the story the way he did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Elise 03-08-15
    Elise 03-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Learned a ton about Chicago!"

    Excellent reading/performance. Really was a compelling and informative story! I can't wait to visit Chicago and Jackson park again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 03-06-15
    Matthew 03-06-15
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    ""Devil" Brings Chicago's Gilded Age to Life"

    This rich and entertaining history tells the tale of great human accomplishment juxtaposed the stranger-than-fiction horror story of H. H. Holmes. Meticulously researched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wheelman 03-02-15
    Wheelman 03-02-15
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    "Fascinating listen!"

    I really enjoyed listening to this! There was so much information regarding this era in Chicago history that I did not know. Intertwining the simultaneous stories of a serial killer and the Chicago World's Fair made for great storytelling. The narrator was very good as well whose voice seemed to fit the era of the story. Highly enjoyable listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 02-24-15
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 02-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very interesting albeit too long."

    This is a great book with so many interesting facts about the Worlds Fair and all the exhibitors. Tha madman is only one aspect that makes it more interesting. I think the story went into too many details, spending unnecessary time on them. It could have been told in much les time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Algonquin, IL, United States 02-22-15
    John Algonquin, IL, United States 02-22-15 Member Since 2011

    Any fool can know something the point is to understand!

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    "Story as Big As The Coty"

    Wonderful mixture of history and story telling. With the added contrast of creation against destruction. Vision vs greed and murder. Well read and well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey 02-20-15
    Stacey 02-20-15 Member Since 2008
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    "The Devil in the White City"

    I'm not typically a historical novel ready, but this was close enough to a murder mystery to keep my intrigued. I loved all of the facts about what was developed/invented for the World Fair, I had no idea, and found it very interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 02-20-15
    Suzanne 02-20-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Fascinating"

    The history of the fair, all the figures from our past, make this story compelling even without the killer. I highly recommend to all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg 02-17-15
    Greg 02-17-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great"

    A slow start but I really enjoyed this book. The author transitioned seamlessly between the concurrent stories and they were both wonderful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam F Forest, VA, United States 02-02-15
    Pam F Forest, VA, United States 02-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "An Historical thriller!"

    Scott Brick never disappoints.
    The story was enthralling. More so knowing that our all really happened.
    I'll be spending some time looking for photos from the Columbian Exposition and more details from the period.add a visit to Chicago at some time in the future

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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