Monday, July 14, 2008

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Subtitled Murder, Magic, and Madness
at the Fair That Changed America
Published in 2003. 447 pages (including Notes and Index).
National Book Award Finalist in 2003.
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime in 2004.

I'm getting terribly behind on my reviews. I finished The Devil in the White City - which was June's pick for Book Buddies - at the end of last month. I had been wanting to read it for some time, and I had borrowed a copy several months ago from my sister Elicia. I'm glad I finally got to it!

In the interest of getting a review (any review!) posted, I'm just going to say that I greatly enjoyed this non-fictional account of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair intertwined with the tale of a serial killer who was operating in that area at the same time. The juxtaposition of these events is brilliant - the contrast between those who were building and creating and one who was cunningly ending life. One especially fun story for me was the creation of the first Ferris Wheel, designed in an attempt to outdo the Eiffel Tower from the previous World's Fair. Well-researched but written more like a novel, The Devil in the White City is a great read!

If you have read and reviewed this book, I would love to link your review here. Please leave me a comment or email me your link!



  1. I wrote a review of this book some time back... I really liked it. It really did read like fiction. Have you read Thunderstruck, by the same author? Also based on a real-life crime, and also very hard to put down.

  2. I really liked this book too. All the amazing things that were developed for the World Fair.
    Here's my review:

  3. This was the first book I read for a non-fiction challenge. It definitely is engrossing and does not read like non-fiction!

  4. I picked this up at our last library sale, and have been both looking forward to it and dreading it. I've read such mixed reviews that I wasn't really sure what to think. So glad to see you enjoyed it so much!

  5. I read the German edition of this book. I liked the mix of real-life crime and the history of the World Fair.

    @katherine, thank you for reference of Thunderstruck. I didn't know this before. One more book for my nevere-ending to-read list :-)

  6. Wasn't this book fantastic? I read Larson's newer book (Thunderstruck) but it didn't have the same magic and the juxtaposition of the two story lines just didn't quite fit like The Devil did.