Sunday, November 29, 2009

REVIEW: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This one started out really slow for me. It actually took me three tries to be able to complete it. I'm glad I did stick with it because after the first 100 pages the story really started to pick up. Devil in the White City tells two stories that intertwine: the story of the Chicago World's Fair and the story of H. H. Holmes, America's first serial killer that operated in Chicago during the time of the World's Fair.

First the story of the World's Fair-This book gives a detailed accounting of all obstacles that were faced to make this a reality, and there were many. Apparently at that time Chicago was viewed as an inferior city and no one thought that the architects brought together to design the World's Fair could pulll it off. Miraculously they did and ended up blowing the World's Fair in Paris (where the Eiffel Tower was unveiled) out of the water. It really was an interesting story, at times with too much detail which kind of made the story drag a bit here and there. Still it was good and I kept trying to picture present day Chicago in my mind throughout the book, mentally comparing what was still there of the fair. Not much I'm afraid.

The second story which details the operations of H. H. Holmes, stealth serial killer at large was equally fascinating. The book focused more on the timeline of who Holmes killed and offered a little here and there of how he accomplished it but did not focus on the details of how all the individual murders were committed. This is something that I think actually ended up being a good thing because I think it would have bogged down the book. I will not give away how he was finally caught but the manner in which he was caught and the fact that the Chicago Police Department was completely oblivious just boggled my mind.

Definitely a good piece of history that doesn't read like a boring history book at all. I'm glad I stuck with this one.

If the FTC is wondering: This book is from my own personal library

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