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 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.
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 -

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 (8817 )
5 star
 (4147)
4 star
 (2889)
3 star
 (1250)
2 star
 (334)
1 star
 (197)
Overall
4.2 (6139 )
5 star
 (3157)
4 star
 (1817)
3 star
 (811)
2 star
 (218)
1 star
 (136)
Story
4.4 (6106 )
5 star
 (3405)
4 star
 (1832)
3 star
 (635)
2 star
 (144)
1 star
 (90)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jeannie nc 05-06-15
    Jeannie nc 05-06-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "more about the construction of the fair than anyth"

    I wanted something about a serial killer not about the construction of the Worlds Fair in Chicago

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Bubenik St. Louis, Missouri 05-05-15
    Joe Bubenik St. Louis, Missouri 05-05-15 Member Since 2014

    Joe

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spectacular"

    I am not generally a fan of historical novels. The fact that this is non-fiction is also a mark against it. However, Larson pulls you into the world of late-1800s Chicago. He introduces you to people and you feel as if you've truly met them.

    The complex narration that follows multiple individuals is easily followed. Holmes' inner-monologue is expertly written and you feel his depravity through the words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-29-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story"

    A great story done well! I highly recommend to all, I will be reading more of his work

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackie 04-28-15
    Jackie 04-28-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great!"

    Interesting story, great narration. I was amazed by some of the things they did at the worlds faire. And HH Homes was a fascinating and horrible character!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Davis Tuscaloosa, AL USA 04-22-15
    P. Davis Tuscaloosa, AL USA 04-22-15 Member Since 2011

    Southern Gent

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative and engaging"

    Great book that interweaves the story of a turn-of-the-century worlds fair in Chicago with the story of America's first serial killer. There are lots of details about the politics and structural challenges of building the World's Fair. The chill of the story of the killer emerges more from descriptions of the settings and evidence found than from graphic details of the killings. Finally, near the end of the book the author makes some comments about why he relies on sources other than the Internet for his research.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeeplar Michigan, USA 04-17-15
    Jeeplar Michigan, USA 04-17-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic. Picked up the book many times, but..."

    I've meant to pick this book up many times over the years, but the length of it was quite the barrier.
    Having finally gotten the audiobook, I was invested from start to finish. Having just been to Chicago, one of my favorite cities, a couple of years ago when the Institute of Arts happened to have an excellent gathering of remnants from the 1893 Wolds Fair, thus peaking my interest in this book even further, it was amazing doing some internet research on the fair and finding photos of exhibitions. Particularly the still very well preserved Giant Octopus and Wooly Mammoth, rare gemstones and stunning fossils from out west and fantastic armor, weapons and mummified infants to Pharaohs and all classes in between. Exhibits of hundreds of insects, with original labels were creepy while interesting at the same time.
    While in Chicago, I'd heard of the book, but missed the "Devil" part. Upon returning, I was tempted as ever to get the book but was afraid it would've sat unfinished. I finally signed up for Audible and made it my first purchase. Having been to Chicago a few times made listening much more enjoyable, but it's not a necessary prerequisite.
    About ¾ of the way through , I began to wonder just how much was fact and how much fiction. From what I found, this could have easily been filed under Non-Fiction it was so truthful in its telling.
    Highly recommended!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse 04-15-15
    Jesse 04-15-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I devoured this book!"

    This book has great detail! I love the quotes obtained from letters and old records. It was a fascinating tale of the constant struggle for artistic excellence paired with the depth of human depravity. The story of Holmes is more bizarre and complex than I ever imagined.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie la vernia, TX, United States 04-12-15
    Julie la vernia, TX, United States 04-12-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two parallel stories intersected by a fair"

    Interesting and informative story that is really two stories in one. I doubt nothing I write hasn't already been captured in the numerous other reviews here, but unlike some of the mediocre or negative reviews, I found this book fun, captivating, creepy, and thoroughly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 04-11-15
    Susan 04-11-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow real history, reads like fiction"

    My favorite nonfiction author, so far. This incredible story mixes a national event, with a silent tragities. Intriguing and spooky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Kerr Missouri USA 04-09-15
    N. Kerr Missouri USA 04-09-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent! Gripping!"

    As a native Chicagoan, who grew up partially in/around Hyde Park/Jackson Park, this was so descriptive, and I could see the places Erik Larson described, especially the Wooded Isle, now known as the Japanese Garden, behind the Museum Of Science And Industry, where I spent many days, happily cutting school, now usually home, to several homeless men,, and the lagoons, and harbor. In recent years, several bridge decorations have been unearthed, and sparked my fascination, with the Exposition, and after a rousing Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast, about HH HOLMES,, which mentions this book prominently, I had to finally read it! I was not disappointed, and if youre a fan of narrative history, you wont be either! As a fan of the Chicago Boulevard Parks System, museums, and other works of Burnham, Sullivan, Adler, and Olmstead, I loved this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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.