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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

4.2 (12858 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brock Bose 12-17-16
    Brock Bose 12-17-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a good story, well told"

    The the story of the Chicago World's Fair is truly engaging, the narration is also very good.
    Unfortunately I don't feel that the three stories really complement each other. The story of Burnham's struggle to design and execute the fair on a ridiculously short schedule and in the face of the 1893 financial panic is in itself fascinating but does not gain anything from the story of Holmes, the mass murderer. At times they distract the reader from each other. The third story of the assassin Prendergast almost seems irrelevant. All in all, though I found the book very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olivia 12-16-16
    Olivia 12-16-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, wordy, disappointing."
    Any additional comments?

    Listening to this book was like listening to someone read a history book with too many adjectives interjected throughout. It was a long list of facts strung together with interjections about the serial killer H.H. Holmes to add occasional spice to an otherwise dull story (if you can even call it that). I never quit books and always finish them but I honestly could not stand to listen to this one any longer and stopped almost halfway through. The reader seems like he could be alright if given better material, and I would give him a chance with another story. Overall I would say don't waste your money. If you'd like to learn about the Chicago Worlds Fair, do online research- it will take less time and you won't have to waste your money and 15 hours of your life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erick Porter 12-16-16 Member Since 2016
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    11
    6
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    Story
    "Absolutely Great Modern History"

    This was my second time through Erik Larson's book The Devil in the White City. This is a terrifically well told and researched telling of two parallel stories occurring in Chicago at the turn of the 19th century: the Chicago World's Fair and the encounter with the infamous Mr. H. H Holmes. The audiobook is an excellent way to enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary 12-13-16
    Zachary 12-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    8
    3
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    Story
    "Great Scott!"

    Scott Brick delivers another solid performance in this reading of Erik Larson's painstakingly researched account of the events that took place in the 1892 World's Fair. Scott's impression of such a large cast of characters is a bit lacking, which I have noticed in other readings he's done, but his skill as an orator is still impressive.

    The narrative woven by the author is so chilling and heinous, I only half believed the events detailed. That is, until I did research of my own on Henry H. Holmes. It just went on to prove how much research Larson did himself while writing the novel.

    Great book! Can't wait for the movie!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clint Rector 12-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    7
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    "Beautiful and disheartening"

    This story covers wonderful feats of American ingenuity and one man's depravity. Unbelievably rich in history and accuracy. There's a clear reason this is a bestselling book. A must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joshUA RANSFORD 12-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    10
    2
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    Story
    "not as much about Holmes as I would have liked"

    more about the Chicago world fair than Holmes' murders. still quite interesting and worth a credit

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 12-08-16
    Brian 12-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    1
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    Story
    "Creeping enchantment"

    This book is excellent in both its historical telling of the Chicago world fair and it's ever creepy real side story of a psychopath using this great moment in American history to create a dark story of his own. Definitely worth the listen for the historical context, but even more interesting is the ideas of manipulation and coercion needed to achieve ones dreams.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irene 12-07-16
    Irene 12-07-16
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    Story
    "Well written. Fascinating history ."

    I enjoyed the history of the World's Fair of 1891. the story was nicely woven together . Loved the Narrator, will look for him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mallory 12-04-16
    Mallory 12-04-16
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    6
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    Story
    "Easy to follow in audio format."

    Easy to follow what is going on. Has a lot of interesting historical information as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 12-02-16
    Craig 12-02-16
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    "A great historical account of ambition"

    Full of good facts and story telling and an era of American past forgotten. Very resourceful and insightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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