The Devil in the White City Quotes

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
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The Devil in the White City Quotes Showing 1-30 of 184
“It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so very easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“I must confess a shameful secret: I love Chicago best in the cold.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“I was born with the devil in me,' [Holmes] wrote. 'I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.

Daniel H. Burnham”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“His weakness was his belief that evil had boundaries.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Beneath the gore and smoke and loam, this book is about the evanescence of life, and why some men choose to fill their brief allotment of time engaging the impossible, others in the manufacture of sorrow. In the end it is a story of the ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the White City and the Black.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Beside his own person and his own interests, nothing is sacred to the psychopath.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“Great murderers, like great men in other walks of activity, have blue eyes.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Place has always been important to me, and one thing today's Chicago exudes, as it did in 1893, is a sense of place. I fell in love with the city, the people I encountered, and above all the lake and its moods, which shift so readily from season to season, day to day, even hour to hour.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“. . . why some men choose to fill their brief allotment of time engaging the impossible, others in the manufacture of sorrow.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“The intermittent depression that had shadowed him throughout his adult life was about to envelop him once again. ”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“No one could bear the idea of the White City lying empty and desolate. A Cosmopolitan writer said, "Better to have it vanish suddenly, in a blaze of glory, than fall into gradual disrepair and dilapidation. There is no more melancholy spectacle than a festal hall, the morning after the banquet, when the guests have departed and the lights are extinguished.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Chicago has disappointed her enemies and astonished the world”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Beneath the stars the lake lay dark and sombre," Stead wrote, "but on its shores gleamed and glowed in golden radiance the ivory city, beautiful as a poet's dream, silent as a city of the dead.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“I will be on the look out for you, my dear girl," he wrote. "You must expect to give yourself up when you come." For this buttoned-up age, for Burnham, it was a letter that could have steamed itself open.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“For now, the tension was subtle, a vibration, like the inaudible cry of overstressed steel.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“I tell you we must have bodies. You cannot make doctors without them, and the public must understand it. If we can’t get them any other way we will arm the students with Winchester rifles and send them to protect the body-snatchers on their raids.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“I find it all infinitely sad, but at the same time so entrancing, that I often feel as if it would be the part of wisdom to fly at once to the woods or mountains where one can always find peace. - Dora Root in a letter to Daniel Burnham”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“No one cared what St. Louis thought, although the city got a wink for pluck.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“Leaves hung in the stillness like hands of the newly dead.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“But one thing was quite clear...." [Sol Bloom, chief of the Midway] wrote. "[B]eing broke didn't disturb me in the least. I had started with nothing, and if I now found myself with nothing, I was at least even. Actually, I was much better than even: I had had a wonderful time.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“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. On one such visit to the Chicago Historical Society, I found the actual notes that Prendergast sent to Alfred Trude. I saw how deeply the pencil dug into the paper.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“An artist, he paints with lakes and wooded slopes, with lawns and banks and forest-covered hills." — Daniel Burnham talking about Frederick Law Olmstead”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
“This prolonging of a man’s life doesn’t interest me when he’s done his work and has done it pretty well.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“As the light began to fade, the architects lit the library’s gas jets, which hissed like mildly perturbed cats.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“Between the lights and the ever-present blue ghosts of the Columbian Guard, the fair achieved another milestone: For the first time Chicagoans could stroll at night in perfect safety. This alone began to draw an increased number of visitors, especially young couples locked in the rictus of Victorian courtship and needful of quiet dark places.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing. At first alienists described this condition as “moral insanity” and those who exhibited the disorder as “moral imbeciles.” They later adopted the term “psychopath,” used in the lay press as early as 1885 in William Stead’s Pall Mall Gazette, which described it as a “new malady” and stated, “Beside his own person and his own interests, nothing is sacred to the psychopath.” Half a century later, in his path-breaking book The Mask of Sanity, Dr. Hervey Cleckley described the prototypical psychopath as “a subtly constructed reflex machine which can mimic the human personality perfectly. … So perfect is his reproduction of a whole and normal man that no one who examines him in a clinical setting can point out in scientific or objective terms why, or how, he is not real.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“They saw even more ungodly things—the first zipper; the first-ever all-electric kitchen, which included an automatic dishwasher; and a box purporting to contain everything a cook would need to make pancakes, under the brand name Aunt Jemima’s. They sampled a new, oddly flavored gum called Juicy Fruit, and caramel-coated popcorn called Cracker Jack. A new cereal, Shredded Wheat, seemed unlikely to succeed—“shredded doormat,” some called it—but a new beer did well, winning the exposition’s top beer award. Forever afterward, its brewer called it Pabst Blue Ribbon.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
“One portion of the lakefront, named Burnham Park in his honor, contains Soldier Field and the Field Museum, which he designed.”
Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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