- Young Adult Nonfiction
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison.
The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.
The serial killer parts were grotesque and terrifying, but it was interesting to see into the mind of such a killer.
I would recommend this to history and thriller fans.
Daniel Burnham, the architect in charge of building the World's Columbian Exposition (the World's Fair of 1893) knows that the fair he builds will represent America, especially western America- long associated with savages. While he attempts to build the greatest fair the world has ever seen another man, the well-liked H. H. Holmes, reads newspaper articles about the likes of Jack the Ripper and has a kiln for burning his future victims' bodies installed in his basement. He keeps this well hidden from his neighbors, who see him as a charming young man.
This is the book my book club is reading, and when I started it I was working under the assumption that it would be boring- all factual, you know. It may be nonfiction- as the author says, anything between quotation marks was actually said- but it is far from boring. The fact that it is true only gives it more power.
The fact that it is true does not make it good reading for everyone- some of the chapters are more chilling than any horror story I have ever read.