John Otto'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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Jan 25, 2012

it was amazing
Read from January 15 to 24, 2012

If you think you don't like nonfiction, then you haven't read "The Devil in the White City." It's hard to imagine that a book about the World's Fair in Chicago, known as the Columbian Exposition in 1893 could be a page-turner, but this one is.

The book weaves together the story of the Exposition with that of a serial killer who killed hundreds of young women during the time of the Fair. All of it is based on original sources. Larson looked at the actual paper on which the assassin of Chicago's mayor at the time wrote a note expressing his delusions, and saw how hard were the indentations on the paper from his pencil. He uses trial transcripts, as well as other primary sources for his material.

In all fairness, Larson does some imaginative recreation of dialogue, but he does it so skillfully and seamlessly that it works. This is a book that everyone will enjoy. You got your history, you got your mystery, you got your romance, you got your heartbreak. What more could any reader want?
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