Jenny's Reviews > The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
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's review
Nov 14, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, wml-staff-pick, historical
Read from November 11 to 13, 2011

Finally made the time to read this, and it was so worthwhile. I knew the narration went back and forth between the story of the World's Fair architects and that of the serial killer Holmes, but I thought the two stories would converge - knit together more than they did in the end. However, both stories were interesting and superbly researched - I learned a lot of small interesting facts in addition to the broader story (e.g. the Chicago World's Fair - a.k.a. the World's Columbian Exposition - is the reason we have Columbus Day now; the Ferris Wheel was invented for the World's Fair).

From the Author's Note:

"I do not employ researchers, nor did I conduct any primary research using the Internet. I need physical contact with my sources, and there's only one way to get it. To me every trip to a library or archive is like a small detective story. There are always little moments on such trips when the past flares to life, like a match in the darkness." (p. 395-396)


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