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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 (12259 )
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4.3 (9268 )
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4.4 (9236 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janice 05-31-16
    Janice 05-31-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
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    Story
    "Great parallel stories"

    This book proves truth is stranger than fiction. Captivating story! How much we take for granted today has its genesis in the Worlds Fairs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N.Wilson 05-31-16
    N.Wilson 05-31-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating and Chilling"

    An unforgettable story grounded in fact and research. I do not usually read books of this nature, but am so glad that I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 05-28-16
    Cindy 05-28-16 Member Since 2012
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    14
    11
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    Story
    "Excellent book especially if you like history, architecture, and a murder mystery."

    This is an excellent book rich with details and interesting facts. My great great grandfather was a finish carpenter in Chicago during this time. I wonder if he worked on the exhibition or took his family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    coho Minneapolis, MN USA 05-26-16
    coho Minneapolis, MN USA 05-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Had to switch to reading after one page!"

    Mr Brick's narration is grating! Ugghh! The story Is fascinating, but there are many grammar and usage errors that I found difficult to overlook. Cannot a publishing house as established as Random house hire competent editors and proof readers?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sumayya Burts 05-22-16
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    1
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    Story
    "Good read, very informative"

    This book surpassed my expectations. My professor assigned this in place of a textbook and it was a relief, as I am not a lover of history. The author's attention to detail and how he told the stories of several characters simultaneously kept me reading. At times some of the information was a bit too much, yet it aided the settings and further pushed the plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-22-16
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    Story
    "Good history but a bit dry."

    Excellent research and presentation but sometimes bored me in little details. Learned a lot of fascinating information though. Definitely a must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N.Dryl 05-19-16
    N.Dryl 05-19-16 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "Good book, bad narrating"

    The narration is so pretentious, it becomes a distraction. I couldn't continue listening after 20 minutes. It hurt my ears. First book I stopped listening to. I will need to read when I have time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon D 05-18-16
    Jon D 05-18-16
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    5
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    Story
    "Somewhat disappointing"

    I was disappointed in the amount of storyline on the Chicago Worlds Fair vs Holmes. I know info on the fair is easier to come by, but I thought this would dive in deeper on Holmes. I got the same amount of info on Holmes from a 45 min podcast as I got from this book. Well written though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MsScarlet59 05-14-16
    MsScarlet59 05-14-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "World's Fair in Chicago"

    This was an interesting piece of American history that I hadn't known much about, so that kept my attention. I usually prefer listening to books with more dialogue and fleshed out characters than this one, but this was thought-provoking knowing it was a true story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Trautwig 05-07-16 Member Since 2017
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    3
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    "Solid and enjoyable listen"

    I very much liked this book. If you're a history fan you may too. Only problem I had was with some of the verbal ticks of the narrator. They were easy to get past though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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