The Devil in the White City Audiobook | Erik Larson | Audible.com
We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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‚Äôs 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 (4026 )
5 star
 (1691)
4 star
 (1341)
3 star
 (683)
2 star
 (198)
1 star
 (113)
Overall
4.2 (1779 )
5 star
 (837)
4 star
 (554)
3 star
 (260)
2 star
 (91)
1 star
 (37)
Story
4.2 (1769 )
5 star
 (832)
4 star
 (584)
3 star
 (260)
2 star
 (65)
1 star
 (28)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Seasson ROchester, NY, USA 05-16-06
    Seasson ROchester, NY, USA 05-16-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    188
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "ok, but not what I expected"

    In general, I love reading (and hearing)about historical events and people. This book wasn't what I expected at all. It was too wrapped up in detail about the fair. I got lost on who was who. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, but this book definitely was not for me. If you love detail, this is it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer madison, WI United States 12-05-05
    Amazon Customer madison, WI United States 12-05-05 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    396
    3
    Overall
    "disappointed"

    I thought this book was poorly written. It felt like the author included every piece of research he uncovered no matter how irrelevant to the story. Adding these details made many parts drag on monotonously and killed any build up of suspense or excitement.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Smith Culver 11-02-05
    D. Smith Culver 11-02-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    219
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not quite a mystery"

    I enjoyed this book but it is not a mystery, it is more of a historical novel of the Columbia exposition and as a side note an early serial killer. No mystery there. I am not quite sure how this book won an award.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Centennial, CO, USA 05-28-05
    Andrea Centennial, CO, USA 05-28-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Don't waste your time"

    What could have been a fascinating book is just plain drudgery in large sections, mainly because there's not much to work with here except the author's imagination. Ordinarily that would be enough, of course, but in this case, the Eric Larson attempts more than a work of fiction and therefore fails.

    Where there are hard historical records to go on, namely, the creation of the Chicago "Columbian Exposition" in 1893, they are dry facts, indeed. Whole chapters are devoted to obtaining permission to build, the politics of obtaining permission, and the private lives of otherwise uninteresting and tangential characters. The best Larson can offer here is some interesting name-dropping, but there are no huge names to make you rush to listen to this book.

    The facts are skinniest when Larson tries to describe the nefarious activities of Henry Holmes, Chicago's own Jack the Ripper. This would have been interesting if it weren't for the fact that Larson has to make up most of the dialog, events and even actual facts about which he writes, because Holmes didn't leave any eye witnesses.

    Larson would have been better off to write a "based on true events" TV crime drama.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela G. 07-28-04
    Angela G. 07-28-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I'll stick it out.."

    even though this is the most boring read ever. The other reviews gave it high praise so I might be missing the point totally. It's just droning on and on........

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer The Woodlands, TX, USA 02-21-10
    Jennifer The Woodlands, TX, USA 02-21-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    "Horrible"

    One reviewer wrote that listening to this audiobook was like watching paint dry. Actually, it was much, much worse. I listen to audiobooks all the time and this is the first one I simply could not finish. The premise is an interesting one - a murderer running rampant in historical Chicago. Sounds exciting, right? Unfortunately the majority of the book focuses on the mundane details of the exposition - the plants used in the landscaping, the layout of every building, the number of workers, etc. Much is said about the architects and other key figures, but none of the characters engage in dialogue; it is a recitation of events told in the most annoying monotone I've ever heard. Even the part about the murderer is boring. Save yourself the time and just Google the title. If you're looking for a great audiobook, listen to The Pillars of the Earth.

    6 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 01-29-11
    James 01-29-11 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    "Who writes these reviews?"

    This is basically a history book and not a well written one. Most of it is an historical account of the Chicago Exposition, so to make the history palatable the, the concurrent story of Dr. H.H. Homes is woven into the novel. Both threads represent stories which, in themselves, have a great deal of interest. But the history of the Worlds Fair is drawn out ad infinitum and the Holmes story is poorly written while the suspense is lost in the endless interruptions for more history lessons. Bad idea - poor execution - even if we all love Scott Brick. As for the poeple who raved about it, I just don't understand.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Houston, TX, United States 10-04-09
    Russell Houston, TX, United States 10-04-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    153
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Surprising history"

    It was indeed amzaing to learn about the accomplishments in Chicago for the worlds fair and the first serial killer in the US. But I can't say the book kept me coming back. Almost no tales of history do.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Bryant, AR, United States 03-19-07
    Leslie Bryant, AR, United States 03-19-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    Overall
    "More Expo than H.H.Holmes"

    I am only 9 hours in and it has taken so long to listen to it. I really would like more about Holmes than I am getting. There is WAY too much about the World's fair. For every 5 minutes of Holmes we get 2 1/2 hours of VERY intricately detailed information about the behind the fair scene. I would not recommend this to anyone unless they wanted to know more about the fair.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Taylor Florida 08-18-06
    Eric Taylor Florida 08-18-06 Member Since 2002

    Eric Taylor

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Blah Blah Blah"

    The author either had a page quota or a fascination with historical detail that exceeded mine.

    This book tells a fairly interesting story, and provides a lot of the background information about the Chicago Fair which was also interesting. In my opinion, though, a good editor could have greatly improved this book by cutting out around 25% of it.

    It was an OK read -- and I didn't have anything else -- but many of the long and rambling introspections of the main characters could have been omitted. I kept saying to myself, "Get on with it! You've already told me what they thought and how they felt. I don't need to hear it over and over again."

    Not a bad book. Not a good one, either.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 251-260 of 267 results PREVIOUS1252627NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.