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)
A real life horror story. I was left with a feeling of how on earth could this have happened... but it did! Anyone who loves architecture will enjoy this book as well as anyone enthralled with the workings of the human mind.
This was my first Historical - Mystery. I kept waiting for the book to get more interesting and move a little faster. I felt like the whole book was just giving the "back drop" of Chicago's developing landscape. The history was well researched. Good book, just not for me.
I have never wanted a book to end as much as this one. I refused to give up on it because of all of the great reviews. I was hoping for a gripping storyline about hundreds of murders, by one man, and how the police hadn't figured it out. Instead, this was mostly about the building of the World's Fair.....blah. I wish I could get my time back.
Yes. I felt this story did a great job of transporting you back in time to the time of the worlds fair and the way things where in a time when cities where growing and Amercia was becoming what it it today. The characters if this story are brought to life and you feel for them with each step forward and each set back.
It wasn't really and edge of your seat type of book. I feel like I knew the outcome of both story lines but this gave me so much more of an understanding of what went on with both of them.
He did really well with inflicting the right emotion for each section of the book.
The tenacity of a few wonderful men to make a dream come true and the evil of one man to create a nightmare beyond any you can imagine.
This book was a great listen. Being from the Chicago area I learned so much about the city and how it became what it is today. I always knew that the city had a great history now I can see the shadows of that history in some of the places that are there still today. This book was a great listen though there are a few slow spots it is well worth the listen. Highly recommended.
One of the best books I've listened to even though it's not my usual genre. Being a historic architect may have colored my enthusiasm but I truly believe anyone would enjoy this unique combination of history and true crime.
I didn't know much of the back story when I bought the book. I saw it on the shelves of friends over the years and all raved. I listen while I run. I had to re listen to some parts due to zoning out. highly recommend this book
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