The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is a nonfiction book about two men – one, Daniel Burnham, who was responsible for the design of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and one, H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer. The two stories are interwoven to create a compelling narrative that covers not only these topics but also provides insight into wider American society at the time.
For who is this book for ?
This book is for someone who likes nonfiction, interesting stories that are well-researched and provide a lot of detail. It would also be good for someone who wants to learn more about American history around the turn of the 20th century.
- The book provides a detailed, well-researched account of both the World’s Columbian Exposition and H.H. Holmes’ murder spree
- It is an enjoyable read that is well written and easy to follow
- Larson does an excellent job of painting a vivid picture of life in America at the turn of the century
- The author could have provided more information on the wider context in which Burnham and Holmes operated.
- The two narratives are not perfectly integrated, occasionally creating a jarring effect.
- The book is at times quite graphic, making it unsuitable for younger readers.
Learn more about the author
Erik Larson is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake. His books have sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 27 languages. Erik has written for Esquire, Vanity Fair, Time Magazine, Smithsonian Magazineshoulder bag with long shoulder strap and NPR’s All Things Considered. He lives near Seattle with his wife and two daughters.
“This book is like stepping into a time machine. I had no idea what the World’s Fair was, now I feel like I’ve been there! The blending of factual history with creative storytelling makes for an irresistible read.”
“The Devil in the White City is a page-turner of the first order. Erik Larson has done an amazing job of recreating not only two fascinating lives, but also conjuring up late nineteenth century Chicago.”
“The Devil in the White City is a marvelous book, one of the best I’ve ever read. Erik Larson has created two vivid portraits, that of Daniel Burnham and H.H. Holmes, which he interweaves skillfully and suspensefully.”
“The Devil in the White City is, quite simply, one of the best books I have ever read. Period.”