Throwback Thursday: The Devil in the White City


Throwback Thursday is a new feature at Reading Lark. We'll still be doing some Book Boyfriend Posts and Book BFF Posts on Thursdays as well, but the Larks wanted a little variety on Thursdays. Throwback Thursday will allow us to throwback to some of the reads we've loved -- whether it's a book reviewed last year, a book we hid under the covers to read as a teen, or a picture book from our childhood -- we hope you'll enjoy reliving the memories as much as we do!

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
By: Erik Larson
Published: 2002

If you haven't read this fantastic book yet, you need to! Even if you don't think you like nonfiction, read it. Even if you only think you'll like the serial killer aspect, read it. Even if you think it's been over-hyped, read it. Because I'm telling you, I thought all of those things too, and I was WRONG. This gem is a great crossover for people who don't think they like nonfiction books; it reads like one of the most fascinating fictional stories ever. But it's all true! And I'm here to tell you, the World's Fair chapters became my favorites, even though I only picked it up because serial killer.

Summary via Goodreads

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

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, Nikola Tesla 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.