The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
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The Devil in the White City Audiobook by Erik Larson is a historical non-fiction book published in 2003. The book is set in 1893 and weaves the true story of Daniel. H. Burnham, architect and chief planner of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and Dr. H.H. Holmes, pharmacist and a serial killer who used to lure suspects into his murder castle before murdering them.
Burnham made his best efforts and assembled one of the greatest meetings of artists since the 15th century. The meeting was for turning the swampy wasteland of the Jackson Park to the magnificent White City. More than 28 million visitors were enchanted by the White City in one summer alone.
Burnham had to overcome serious obstacles like political unrest, labor issues, winter weather challenges of Chicago etc. for achieving his goal. He and his colleagues work diligently on the product and left no stone unturned to accomplish what they had envisioned. In just over two years, Burnham and his team produced the fabled and the famous White City.
The devil in the title refers to the charming Dr. H.H. Holmes. He built and ran a hotel named World Fair Hotel which had mysterious structures inside it. Holmes decided which type of guests will stay in the hotel, preferring only single women traveling to Chicago to stay there. He was a charmer and highly skilled at winning women’s trust. Dr. Holmes was a physician and a psychopath maniac killer. He used to lure women to his hotel and then murder them in the gas chamber and he used to supply their skeletons to the anatomy classes.
The Devil in the White City Audiobook by Erik Larson is a lively and fast-paced book. The author has used a unique style of blending two narratives which are distinctly different from one another. One narrative depicts the planning and the untiring efforts of a man for conducting the World Columbian Exposition. The other narrative is of a maniac serial killer who used to kill women.
The contrasting stories provide an insight into how different the human mind can be and if devoted to the right cause it can help make positive changes for the mankind. The narrative is gripping and grows on the readers. It is a must-read for the readers interested in history and human psychology.