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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 (12506 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Debbie M. Simpson 06-05-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Devil Indeed"
    What did you love best about The Devil in the White City?

    I enjoyed learning about the invention of the Ferris Wheel. I didn't realize that the first one was so massive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    H.H. Holmes was not a character to like. In fact, he was a character to abhor, but he was the most interesting character in the story. I found myself dying to know what he would do next and was amazed that he got away with such heinous crimes for so long.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I found myself routing for the fair to succeed. The day that the tide turned and several hundred thousand turned out for the fair was my favorite scene.


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

    The Devil in Miracle City -- there were so many obstacles that it was a miracle that the fair was finished in time.


    Any additional comments?

    There were times that I found it difficult to focus my attention on the narration -- times when I found the book extremely boring. However I was glad that I listened to the book in its entirety. I learned a lot that I had not previously known about the building of the fair and about the inventions and innovations derived from the fair. I was never bored with the book in its telling of the atrocities of H.H. Holmes, however.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoEllen Arnold 06-02-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    15
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    "Ghastly. Don't bother"

    I had to read this for a book club. Listened at 1.25 speed and still found it unbearably long. Foreshadowing. Melodrama. Throw in every historical figure possible and include unnecessary details. I'd have preferred a straightforward narrative about the fair without the devil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 05-31-16
    Janice 05-31-16
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    11
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    "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
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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
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    "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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    "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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    "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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    REVIEWS
    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

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