The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rating: 4 stars
In this non-fiction book, the author, Erik Larson, takes us back to 1893 during the Chicago World's Fair, the very first fair in the country. This fair was where the very first Ferris Wheel was built as well as other carnival-related activities that we still have today. In this book, the author focuses on two people - a man who was the architect behind the fair and then H.H. Holmes, who is infamously known as the serial killer who used the popularity of the fair to lure people into his hotel to kill them. 

All I can say is this author sure has some talent! This book about this specific time in American history was so incredibly well-researched and well-written, but not only that. He was able to tell it in a way that is engrossing and absorbing. I could not stop reading! It was dark, grim, and reads like a history book, but even non-history buffs will appreciate his style as he tells it as if it is a fictional narrative. If only every non-fiction out there is like this, I think more people would read from the broad genre.

I do have to say one thing: I was most definitely more fascinated by the Holmes side of the story. While I cared and liked knowing more about the process of setting up the fair, I think the architect's part in the story dragged on too much. There were too many details, but I think that this is another thing fans of the book loved about this, so to each his own.


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Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book. It was informational and entertaining at the same time. It was excellently written and was so fascinating that after reading this, I went on to watch documentaries and read more articles based on this historical time. It's an interesting look into such a popular (and yet surprisingly not as talked about) part of American history, and to look at two completely different human beings. I highly recommend reading this book if you like non fiction, if you're interested in history, or just want something different than your usual picks.

(sort of unrelated, but if you watch American Horror Story, don't you think this Holmes' storyline could be a good story for season 5?? They said it was going to be focused on a hotel, and the only clue they gave the viewers was a top hat... which Holmes wore all the time. Just a thought!)

11 comments:

  1. I'm reading his latest book right now and it's just as compelling.

    readerbuzz.blogspot.com

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    1. Good to know! I am seeing him at a talk next week and am getting his book, Dead Wake. I'm so excited.

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  2. I enjoyed this one, too. and plan to read/listen to his latest soon.

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    1. I can't wait to read his latest as well.

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  3. My old book group (before I moved away) read this one a few years back. I ended up listening to it instead of reading, and I agree with you -- the Holmes story was far more interesting to me and the rest got a little too detailed. Had I been reading I'd probably have skimmed, but of course that's harder to do with audio! Still, definitely well written/researched and worth reading.

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    1. I can imagine it to be too long for an audiobook, but slightly more eerie!

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  4. I have this book in my TBR pile. Will need to read soon.

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  5. Larson is so good! Isaac's Storm and Dead Wake are both incredible!

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  6. I haven't read this book, but I have heard good things about it. It sounds fascinating, the setting and the crimes--and to think it actually happened!

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