“It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so very easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history.”
- Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
An oldie but a goodie, Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City tells two compelling tales. This book tells both the story of Daniel H. Burnham, the man who designed the 1893 World’s Fair, and serial killer H. H. Holmes. What we liked most about the tale was how it’s author managed to make it just as captivating as a good murder mystery. For a nonfiction book that relied heavily on facts and historical information, this was no small feat. Every page is simply captivating. Whether Larson is describing frantic architects and engineers as they race to outdo their New York brethren, or gristly murders carried out by a madman; he’s doing so in a descriptive and compelling manner.
“Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing.”
We really enjoyed this book and think that you will too. It’s easily one of the best true crime novels and fascinating to read through. Additionally, Leonardo DiCaprio is planning on making this story into a movie soon. While we have no doubt that this will be an awesome film, you should definitely check out the book before seeing the events unfold on the big screen.
If you want to check out The Devil in the White City be sure to click here. Used copies are available for as little as a penny. Also, be sure to check out some of Erik Larson’s other works. They’re all highly enjoyable.