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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 (12498 )
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4.3 (9485 )
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4.4 (9456 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ioannis 09-21-16
    Ioannis 09-21-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exciting and Excellent Story"

    Exciting historical events with lasting effects both great and evil. A must read historical book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie Haggerty 09-20-16 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful Story"

    Beautifully written from beginning to end. Narrative brought to life a bit of history I might never have uncovered if not for this book. Its also a book you can leave in your library and pick up again and again and learn something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    downtowndad 09-20-16
    downtowndad 09-20-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Story
    "Magnificent and Chilling pictures"

    One star deducted from performance because Brick mispronounced the town names Wilmette (soft I, soft E, silent final E) and Calumet (soft A, hard U, soft E) . I am a Chicagoan and it was a little distracting.

    That aside, Brick read the story with a voice that has a tone of the classical, as if transported from and earlier time in America. Larson interweaves the stories of the fair, its planners, a serial killer, and a madman with grace and vivid description.

    I found an interest in architecture I've never felt and mental images of the Columbian Expedition that I didn't realize existed.

    It is broken up into 263 chapters of approximately 3-4 minutes each.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin Tabacchi 09-18-16
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    7
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    Story
    "another good listen."

    another good listen. the history involved is amazing g and the names that come out is equally amazing. I had no idea that Ferris, Otis, and others were names of the men who created something originally.

    it also shows that it takes a great deal of work and effort to create something grand, and people who a certain something to do it. very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    evelyn t. burns 09-18-16
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    Story
    "Another example of more detail being too much"

    Just because more details are available doesn't mean they are necessary and/or even helpful. I understand wanting to present a thorough picture for reader, but reciting menus & repeating descriptions doesn't accomplish that. In my mind, there has to be a balance between important details and unimportant details. This was a very interesting story but I feel it was drawn out too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Krzeminski 09-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "And interesting dichotomy."

    The author presents the two sides of industrialization and civilization - paralleling the best and worst humanity can achieve. The narrator's voice suits the time period and makes it all feel like a radio drama. His performance and the story aren't anything mind-blowing, but both are very solid and entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michell Thompson Texas 09-17-16
    Michell Thompson Texas 09-17-16 Member Since 2017
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    "bogged down with history"
    What did you like best about The Devil in the White City? What did you like least?

    Not a novel, more a detailed history. I couldn't get past the first hour, and after reading some reviews it seems I wasn't alone. Intriguing premise, but written like a terrible history book. The audible performance was good, not the narrators fault at all.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan McEntire Houston, tx 09-16-16
    Megan McEntire Houston, tx 09-16-16 Member Since 2017

    msmac

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    23
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    Story
    "Lovely narration and dynamic and interesting read"

    The HH Holmes case and a side by side exploration with the World's Fair created such an interesting context for this story. I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keshila Bay Area SF 09-07-16
    Keshila Bay Area SF 09-07-16 Member Since 2011
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    "great story"

    highly recommend this book. love the way the author weaves all the events without it seeming forced and still holds true to historical facts. I also like the summary the author provides at the end justifying his source of information. great book. get the full version not the abridged. it's worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TMB New York 09-07-16
    TMB New York 09-07-16 Member Since 2010

    Romantic suspense author of SEAL OF HONOR and WILDE NIGHTS IN PARADISE.

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    94
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    Story
    "Good book but..."

    Two things annoyed me about this book. There are a lot of repeated lines by the narrator and the extensive menus the author chose to include in the story. The story doesn't delve as deeply into the story f H. H. Holmes as I expected, and focuses mostly on the building of the fair.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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