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The Devil in the White City

I've recently finished devouring The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It has been awhile since I've found a book so riveting that I had trouble putting it down. I actually had a couple fits of insomnia this past week because of the heat and thankfully this book was there to pass the hours. Or maybe it was the other way around, I want to read so I feinted insomnia? In any case the book is mesmerizing and extremely well written. Unlike A Million Little Pieces the author's note at the beginning sets the tone "However strange or macabre some of the following incidents may seem, this is not a work of fiction" (emphasis his) [xi].

The story follows two men and is set around the 1893 World's Fair that was held in Chicago. The first man is the architect behind the World's Fair. The second is a gruesome serial killer who played upon people coming to see the World's Fair. The city of Chicago itself also takes center stage throughout the book with the author's vivid descriptions and auxiliary people that are tied into the two main men.

To read about a city trying to assert itself and America through the fair then be stricken along with the rest of the country as the economy took a downturn only makes the success that the fair achieved even more phenomenal. That success would not have been possible without the men and women behind the fair all of which are captured in the book. Likewise the cunning dastardly deeds of the killer provide a somber backdrop to the excitement of the fair. A truly remarkable, approachable, educational, and entertaining book.

Tags: books

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