Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago” as Want to Read:
Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago is a historical look at Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression. The story of Chicago fighting the hold that organized crime had on the city to be able to put on The 1933 World's Fair.

William Hazelgrove provides the exciting and sprawling history behind the 1933 World's Fair, the la
Hardcover, First Edition (U.S.), 250 pages
Published September 15th 2017 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  107 ratings  ·  26 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago
Diane S ☔
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
3.5 i grew up in Chicago so of course I closely identified with this book. Capone's reputation long out lived his life. of course he wasn't all one sided, he was a hero to many. Started the first soup kitchens during the depression, was responsible for expiration dates on milk, paid rents, provided clothing and other things. He was though of course for the violence and deaths that imperiled the city. This book combines his rise during Prohibition, his fall because Hoover wanted the city cleaned ...more
Sourojit Das
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Bill Bryson's book on 1927, and this felt quite like an extension of the same. Dealing with the great depression after the roaring 20's, it deals with the fall of Public Enemy Number One, and the ingenuity and determination which raised Chicago out of the slump. A bit long winded though, could've been crisper.
Chris Jaffe
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
This reads like a two-bit knock off of Erik Larson's "The Devil in the White City." That book was a well-regarded huge seller about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago - and serial killer H. H. Holmes who haunted it.

Well, this looks at the other big fair to take place in Chicago: 1933 Fair, celebrating a century since Chicago's incorporation. And around that time Al Capone was having his day in Chicago, so slot him in the Holmes role.

Yeah, but it doesn't really work out. Capone was in jail well bef
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at Chicago of the 1920's and 30's. As much as Chicago area people defend their city by trying to minimize the image of a gangster town with tommy guns still in use, it really WAS that bad back then. This author believes that Al Capone ran Chicago and was a real pop star of his day. He's not making him a hero, but examines Capone's effects on the city. And, boy, was that fair a tough one to pull off! This is a good read for anyone looking at the history of Chicago and the 1933 ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about the end of Capone’s career as a gangster and the building of the 1933 World’s Fair that took place in Chicago during the depression. Not a long book but a fascinating look at the time period, though in this book Capone and the World’s Fair weren’t really linked together but were events occurring at the same time. This reminded me of Erik Larson’s fascinating book The Devil in the White City which was about a serial killer who lured and killed visitors from the 1893 Exposition ...more
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Hazelgrove does an amazing job of creating the story of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and the backdrop in which it occurred. The focus was on the personalities and events, rather than the nitty gritty of the planning. Recommended for those interested in the Depression, in gangsters, or in pivotal cultural moments.

This was a cool Fair, because it was privately funded, even during the worst financial crisis in modern history. The organizers focused on building things in pieces, with modern, pragma
Ryan H
Nov 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I continue to enjoy Chicago history and this book sheds light on the gangster era, the Great Depression, and the World's Fair. ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Very Devil in the White City-esque in terms of structure and style.
Shelly Itkin
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr Hazelgrove definitely teaches us some history lessons. If you read Madam President you would have learned how Edith Wilson behind the scenes ran the White House when her husband was too sick. Then in Forging of a President you will learn all about Teddy Roosevelt before he became President and about his experiences in the Wild West. Now we are learning about the World Fair of 1933.

We learn about Sally Rand also knows as Harriet Helen Beck from the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and how Nelson De
Gayle Pace
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some of the dates and information have been stated in others reviews as being incorrect. I am not that informed about the dates and such. I read the book because of the man, Al Capone. I was interested in some information I didn't know about him and how the criminal aspect of 1933 came to an end. There are quite a few history lessons to learn and I found most of it fascinating. This man was a gangster who held Chicago paralyzed through his criminal activity. This was a dark time for C
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are two major historical truths that emerge when reading this book, and they are based on two connected but significantly distinct threads. The first thread is about the 1933 World’s Fair that was held in Chicago, a city that was rendered bankrupt by the Great Depression. The lesson here is that when times are bad, the solution is to think big and be imaginative. Large problems require even larger solutions.
Most observers considered the plan to have the fair in Chicago in 1933 when ther
James Howald
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a World’s Fair I wasn’t much intrigued by and thus did not know enough. I was wrong.

The downside of the book is I think he uses other books and media too much at times to set his stories. The comparisons not just to the 1893 fair bit specifically to Devil in the White City seemed too cliche. Similarly it seemed to be a shortcut to compare to the Kevin Costner Untouchables movie as often as he did. However, I did enjoy in that case getting an understanding of fact versus fiction in some
Jeffrey Rasley
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I lived in Chicago for 4 years near the site of the 1893 Columbia Exposition as a student at the University of Chicago, so I knew some of the history of that world's fair. I knew much less about the 1933 World's Fair. This book was fascinating in its dramatic presentation of the history of Chicago, Prohibition, the Depression, and the many characters involved in all aspects of that history. Al Capone is only one of the characters the reader will become well acquainted with. He is not presented s ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
It draws together synchronous events in an interesting way, but as others have said, it seems to draw from a lot of secondary sources and actually fictional accounts in a way that seems inappropriate for a book of this kind. It also talked a bit too much about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair for my taste. I get that some discussion of it was necessary for background, but I don't need to get constant comparisons in every description. Also, what was up with the all the "sex sells" stuff? I get Sally ...more
Why I picked this book up: It was on the new book shelf and the title intrigued me.
What I liked about it: Nonfiction is not really my favorite genre, but this book tied together Chicago, Prohibition, Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair in a interesting way.
Overall impression: 3.0/5.00
Around the Year in 52 Books prompt: A book with a location in the title
Popsugar prompt: A book about a villain or antihero
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, chicago
Very interesting facts about how the 1933 Chicago World's Fair impacted Chicago and beyond. Also some interesting facts regarding Al Capone were disclosed. The author had given a talk at one of my local public libraries and thus sparked an interest in reading this book. Easy to read. Recommended if you like U.S. history. ...more
Tom Mahan
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A mildly interesting book that tries to tell three or four stories alternately, and doing none of them very well. The result is a book you read a chapter here skip a chapter there, depending on your level of interest in each subject.
Bill Clarkin
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicago
Tried to be the Devil in the White City but didn’t draw in the drama enough. The Al Capone angle is what drew me but there aren’t enough connections made in the book. Feels like two separate books mashed together
Jenene Meyer
May 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring boring boring. I don’t know how else to say it. This book was so repetitive I found myself questioning if I put my bookmark in the correct spot.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
not my favorite capone book but it was good.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
History book for those not into history. Light on deep historical fast but entertaining if you don't know much of the story. ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great history about Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair in Chicago.
Amy Getz
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The history was somewhat fascinating, but the book was very slow moving and jumped around a lot.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Remarkably good!
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
For all Hazelgrove’s careful description of the impact color and lighting had on the 1933 World’s Fair, I was disappointed in the lack of any color photographs...until I realized that could very well be because there wasn’t color photography in the 1930s. Very similar in tone and subject to Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. ...more
rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2017
Paul Vittay
rated it really liked it
Sep 02, 2019
rated it it was ok
Nov 12, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2020
Jo Ann
rated it liked it
Feb 20, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago
  • Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
  • Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul
  • Burn the Place: A Memoir
  • Almost American Girl
  • Stepping Stones
  • Everything Is an Emergency: An OCD Story in Words  Pictures
  • Dracula, Motherf**ker!
  • The Night Watchman
  • Nefertiti: Unlocking the Mystery Surrounding Egypt's Most Famous and Beautiful Queen
  • The Egyptian Book of the Dead
  • Thank You, Jeeves (Jeeves, #5)
  • Quick Service
  • Ring for Jeeves (Jeeves, #10)
  • The Old Guard, Book One: Opening Fire
  • Sudden Courage: Youth in France Confront the Germans, 1940-1945
  • Speak: The Graphic Novel
  • Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, and the Things I'm Not Allowed to Say on TV
See similar books…


Listen to 101.7 FM interview of the incredible story of a twenty five year old Boston Booksellers expedition to bring 60 tons of cannons to George Washington in 1775.

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
114 likes · 36 comments