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The Devil in the White City Audiobook

The Devil in the White City

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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Martin Muravyav USA 11-29-14
    Martin Muravyav USA 11-29-14 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding!"
    Where does The Devil in the White City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably one of my favorites. It was VERY well done.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I studied serial killers and profiling as an undergraduate. I assumed I would enjoy the story of HH Holmes more than the story of the fair but I found it the other way around. Oh the information about Holmes is great and if you are unfamiliar with the story, you really should listen to it, the man was pure evil but the story of the building of the Chicago Worlds Fair is just incredible. I had no idea of everything that went into that fair. I live in Illinois and have seen models of the fair and a few pictures but it's one of those things that I wish I could have seen. Even given today's modern world it would have been amazing BUT back then, the lights, the wheel, the buildings, the fountains etc etc.....all just totally amazing.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Holmes.....he did make him charmingly smarmy


    If you could give The Devil in the White City a new subtitle, what would it be?

    I can't think of a better one actually


    Any additional comments?

    I HIGHLY recommend this book. Not all of Larson's books are this good but this book, is one of the best true crime/non fiction books I have ever read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett 09-28-05
    Brett 09-28-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EXCELLENT!!!!!!"

    Not only is this book a great read but it is incredibly informative. The parrallel story flows like water. I have recommeded it to several of my friends and they loved it.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George J. Vournazos 04-20-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Must For All Chicagoans!"

    This book was fascinating! As a life long resident of Chicago, I found this book to be a must read. It lead to a wealth of emotions from pride in the "Chicago spirit" which accomplished and continues to accomplish great things to the disgust at the lax manner in which human life was treated at that time. Contrary to what some reviewers wrote, I found the detail to paint a rich and deep picture of that time that reflected the spirit and mood of the Era, not only in Chicago, but the country as well. Highly recommended!

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Lexington, SC, USA 02-11-05
    Patrick Lexington, SC, USA 02-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "The Devil in the White City"

    I bought this book based on the glowing reviews but I have to say now almst 3 hours in I am really starting to wonder. It is a nice depiction of Chicago, and perhaps if I accept it as a history lesson and not the murder mystery I thought I was getting, it will be better.

    It just seems like there is a great story here but the author does not bring the characters alive to me. I want more dialog not the endless narration of a very repetitive nature.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katkillr Arlington, VA USA 12-31-04
    Katkillr Arlington, VA USA 12-31-04 Member Since 2007
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    "An excellent way to start"

    This was my first entry into the land of audiobooks and I picked a gem. The author makes what could have been a dry and difficult read into an interesting and exciting narrative. He moves through the complex of lives touched by the events surrounding the 1993 Columbian Exhibition seamlessly. It delves into such varied areas as architecture, engineering, landscaping, city management, politics, social structure and forensic and criminal investigation, showing how each connects to the story and holding the interest of the reader thoughout. The narration of the book is clear and easy to listen to. All in all an excellent audiobook!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Tujunga, CA, USA 12-23-04
    Bob Tujunga, CA, USA 12-23-04
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    "Chilling"

    This book is creepy to read, but fascinating. It justaposes the wonders of the 1892 Columbian Exposition with a conscience-less serial murder, both of which are remarkable in many ways. Recommend if you have an interest in technology, architecture, and/or project planning, or crime (and have a strong stomach).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Knoxville, TN, USA 11-17-04
    Maria Knoxville, TN, USA 11-17-04
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    "Captivating!"

    I absolutely was enthralled in this book! It captivated my interest so much that I purchased a couple of more books on the Chicago World's Fair. An absolute must read for anyone who appreciates history!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Palatine, IL, USA 11-16-04
    Connie Palatine, IL, USA 11-16-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Can't stop recommending it !!"

    Since I finished listening to this a few months ago I have brought up stories about it many, many times. It is the best book I've heard or read in a long time. And I read a lot.
    Recently I bought two hard copies at a bookstore to give away. The book is so fascinating. So many developments and inventions are still influencing our lives! I'd list them, but that would give away some of the stories.
    The story keeps you listening. And, the book is based on hard facts. The author lists his research and credits at the end.
    I don't often write reviews, but this book just had to be praised online, not just to everyone I see in person.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Galanti Los Angeles, CA USA 11-02-04
    G. Galanti Los Angeles, CA USA 11-02-04 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Read!"

    I normally don't read non-fiction. I listen to books on tape (or electronic format) while I drive, and I prefer mindless entertainment. I'm a fan of mysteries. I got this book because my husband (we commute together) really wanted to read it. I was surprised to find that I loved it! There was a great mystery/thriller "plot" alongside a fascinating historical account of the Chicago World's Fair. It made our most recent trip to Chicago much more meaningful to know so much of the history of the city.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pastor Keith 04-28-04 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Best book I listen to in 2003"

    This is by far the best book in a long time. I learned a lot of history about the World's Fair along with a very interesting murder/suspense. If you are addicted to some learning with you fiction this is it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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