Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Devil in the White City

Our past book club selection was The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  This is a non-fiction of two stories intertwined.  The story takes place in the 1890’s during the building of the world’s fair in Chicago (also known as the white city).  During the same time there was a serial killer named H.H. Holmes that built a hotel a few blocks from the fair grounds.  Chicago was an up and coming city at the time and many women travelled there to find work.  Holmes had a way to lure these women to his hotel and murder them. 

The book details a lot of the architecture and building of the fair.  Also, there are quite a few inventions during this time, some of which were developed for the fair (AC current for electricity).  The biggest feature was trying to engineer something that could rival the last world’s fair in Paris which was when the Eiffel Tower was built.  The story of Holmes was disturbing and exciting at the same time.  Most of us in book club looked forward to the chapters that revolved around Holmes.  We were all amazed that he had something about him that kept women coming to him and not suspect anything. 

Overall, this book is a keeper.  I enjoyed reading about the history of Chicago during that time.  They even say in the book that Walt Disney’s father was one of the architects and may have been the inspiration for Disney World.

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