In The Devil in the White City, the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.
Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.
The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.
To find out more about this book, go to http://www.DevilInTheWhiteCity.com.
American born author, Erik Larson, grew up on Long Island and developed an interest in journalistic writing after seeing the movie "All the President's Men". He earned a degree in Russian history from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laudee, then a post graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1978.
Larson has written eight books, with six of them having been included on the New York Times Bestseller list. The latest books are: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz; Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania; The Devil in the White City (which is being adapted for a mini series produced by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for hulu); In the Garden of Beasts (Optioned by Tom Hanks); and Isaac's Storm.
Larson lives in Manhattan with his wife, a neonatologist, who has written a book of her own titled, Almost Home. Her husband says it could "make a stone cry". They have three daughters in various professions and live in different locations. They also have the ashes of their beloved dog Molly on a shelf overlooking Central Park.
Terrific story and a true one at that. Wonderful details. I had no idea that the pledge of allegiance was born out of the World's Fair - lots of interesting tidbits like this. It's also amazing to understand how much effort and psychological trauma went into the building of the Chicago World's Fair. I grew a little weary of Mr. Holmes and his psychosis, but that's not the author's fault! A great book that will appeal to fiction and non-fiction readers alike.