Book Spotlight–2/20/2011

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Subtitled “Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America,” The Devil in the White City is the kind of story that would make for a wonderful and inventive horror novel if only it weren’t true. But it is. Every gruesome bit of it.

In the book, Larson tells the strangely intertwined tale of two men. One was Architect Daniel H. Burnham, who was the driving force behind the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, one of America’s most ambitious undertakings to that date; the other was America’s first urban serial killer H. H. Holmes, who built a hotel on the fair’s outskirts to lure, and then murder, the young women who were flocking to the city in droves. Compellingly written and fascinating on both fronts—the history of the fair and Holme’s killing spree—The Devil in the White City is a prime example of popular history done right.

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