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The Devil in the White City Audiobook
The Devil in the White City
Written by: 
Erik Larson
Narrated by: 
Tony Goldwyn
 >   > 
The Devil in the White City Audiobook

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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Publisher's Summary

Two men embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's rush toward the 20th century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham the brilliant director of works for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgrounds - a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws listeners into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others.

Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

©2003 Erik Larson; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is everything popular history should be, meticulously recreating a rich America on the cusp of modernity, in which the sale of 'articulated' corpses was a semi-respectable trade and serial killers could go well-nigh unnoticed." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (540 )
5 star
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4.2 (287 )
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4.3 (286 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marian Paulina 08-09-05 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "I wonder..."

    if I missed something. In reading the reviews I thought this would be a great read but I have to admit I wasn't that blown away. I guess I thought the World's Fair and suspense aspect would be given equal time but found the details on creating the "white city" too much and the suspense too little. A fair read is all I can give it but this is not one that I would recommend to others or read again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Sunnyvale, CA, USA 12-08-04
    Larry Sunnyvale, CA, USA 12-08-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent story"

    I'd never heard this story, and I loved it. I didn't want to stop listening. Fascinating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luvlelwyr 08-12-03
    Luvlelwyr 08-12-03 Member Since 2015

    luvlelwyr

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    65
    2
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    "Great Story, So-So Storyteller"

    This book is interesting for its retelling of a great moment in American and Chicago's history as well as a dark moment in its history. Larson is not the best writer. His analogies seem forced and his prose sounds choppy. Still, this book is worth listening to for the story it tells. I was sucked in right from the beginning. I didn't want to stop listening until I got to the end. I only wish I had the hardcover so that it could have been unabridged and so that I could look at any included pictures to provide a visual for my imagination. I recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 05-28-16
    Ben 05-28-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent aside from some editing issues"

    The track began to skip at very crucial parts of the story which was frustrating. Please fix!

    Despite this, I would probably listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica L. Cohen 05-21-16 Member Since 2003
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    32
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    Story
    "Fuzziness at end of recording"

    Excellent book, well read, and terrifying in its historical accuracy. Towards the end of the recording, there is an occasional cut in the sound that makes it difficult to understand some words. It isn't extreme, and I would still recommend this version, but it is noteworthy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CT 05-13-16
    CT 05-13-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    6
    Overall
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    Story
    "audio"

    I enjoyed the book. The audio started slipping at the end, which caused me to miss a few things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calla 03-30-16
    Calla 03-30-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Story
    "Audiobook Quality was crappy. Track kept skipping!"
    What about Tony Goldwyn’s performance did you like?

    I love his voice. He calms me.


    Any additional comments?

    The audiobook kept skipping and it was very hard to listen at times. I feel like I missed out on crucial parts of the story because I couldn't hear the words. I am very frustrated because it was a good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Morris 01-07-16
    M. Morris 01-07-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    59
    25
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    "Couldn't stop"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and I did. I listened to it all night until it was done. The first book I've done that with.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler Foxx 01-01-16
    Tyler Foxx 01-01-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History & Mystery Collide in Chicago"
    Would you listen to The Devil in the White City again? Why?

    I've found this story so captivating, I've listened to it more than six times and consider it my "intermission" between other books.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Herman Mudget, but wait... does that make me evil?


    What does Tony Goldwyn bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Tony's narration breathes life into this story in a way that makes learning history and keeping pace with the evolution of society easy.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I had the time, I would consume this book in a single sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to the theatrical translation of this book to the silver screen! Hoping Hollywood gets it right and doesn't disappoint, as is so often the case when a book is made into a film.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanie 09-24-15
    Jeanie 09-24-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    14
    2
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    Performance
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    "Last 1/3 of abridged version has lots of noise"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Although I liked the topic of the construction of the worlds fair, why it was mashed up with the story of a murderer did not work together for me. I would not recommend the story unless someone was very interested in the fair.


    Have you listened to any of Tony Goldwyn’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The last 1/3 of the recording had background noise. If I had to guess they were editing markers to mark what spaces were to be cut out. However, someone just got sloppy at the end and the beeps covered words in sentences. It was very annoying and made me feel like I had not purchased a quality product. I did verify that these noises were part of the recording and not my headphones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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