Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Book: The Devil In The White City

 Book: The Devil In The White City

Author: Erik Larson

Pages: 447

This is my 54th read for the year

This non-fiction story centers around 2 men at the end of the 1800s.  Architect Daniel Burnham who has been tasked with designing the World's Fair in Chicago, and H.H. Holmes who became a notorious serial killer in Chicago while the fair was being built and run.  As Burnham rises to fame for his development of the fair and the people it attracts (notably Buffalo Bill, Susan B Anthony and Thomas Edison) Holmes uses the fair to lure young women to their deaths.  It isn't until after the fair is over that a Sherlock Holmes type detective finally brings Holmes to Justice.

This was a fascinating book.  The blend of these two stories was an interesting take.  I was actually much more drawn to the story of HH Holmes only because I could not believe that a man who ended up killing at least 27 women and children went unnoticed during this time.  The fair was taking so much of the towns resources and energy that this man was able to kill all these people without stirring many questions.  On the other hand, Burnham's fair was not something I new quite a lot about.  I did not realize they basically built a city.  It must have been something to see.

This was the debut of the Ferris wheel (Ferris was from Pittsburgh which is near my hometown), and reading about his designs and first wheel was great.  What this fair lead to: Disney (Walt's father was party of the building of the White City), Oz (Frank Baum and William Denslow visited the fair), Franklin Lloyd Wright visited and was inspired for future designs, and it is where we got Columus Day.  Of course - the Ferris Wheel is now a staple at every carnival.  The end of the book was my favorite where Larson wrapped up the stories of many of the main characters to close out an interesting tale.

Glad I read this one

Stars: 4.5

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