The Devil in The White City

Non-fiction book suggested by Sue Oldroyd.  Such an interesting read about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.  It’s a hard one to put down.  If you like to explore what makes people tick, this is a great one.


Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Review by Janet Maslin

“As part of his research for ”The Devil in the White City” Erik Larson visited the part of Graceland cemetery where members of Chicago’s turn-of-the-century elite are enshrined. As he puts it, ”On a crystalline fall day you can almost hear the tinkle of fine crystal, the rustle of silk and wool, almost smell the expensive cigars.”

Mr. Larson likes to embroider the past that way. So he relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel, complete with abundant cross-cutting and foreshadowing. Ordinarily these might be alarming tactics, but in the case of this material they do the trick. Mr. Larson has written a dynamic, enveloping book filled with haunting, closely annotated information. And it doesn’t hurt that this truth really is stranger than fiction.

”The Devil in the White City,” a book as lively as its title, has the inspiration to combine two distantly related late-19th-century stories into a narrative that is anything but quaint. One describes planning and preparation for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and it holds an unexpected fascination.”

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