Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Really fascinating book – another narrative non-fiction choice that came highly recommended by Keren. It’s the story of the Chicago World’s Fair, laid over the absolutely chilling tale of America’s first known serial murderer. After growing up in Queens and literally living under the shadow of the Unisphere and other relics from our own World’s Fair, I had almost no knowledge or interest in Chicago’s – so it was enlightening, but not particularly compelling. What did surprise me is that I had never heard of Dr. H.H. Holmes.

Like any other good little goth girl, I had a morbid fascination with serial killers. I still do, I suppose – but somehow I never heard of this guy. He was a “doctor” in the late 1800’s who murdered women and children (probably 100+) generally by picking off boarders in his hotel (this is where the tie to the World’s Fair comes in. A lot of women, newly independent were coming to the fair and no one noticed their disappearances). He built this hotel, also known as the “Castle” and it was just a death funhouse. Trap doors, soundproof rooms, crematoria, gas chambers. Really horrifying stuff.

Anyway, while the book overall was interesting, I definitely skimmed through a lot of the World’s Fair stuff (lots of architecture stuff) and went right to the gore. I want to read more about this guy!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

  1. “I had almost no knowledge or interest in Chicago’s”: you are SO from new york. seriously, there is a whole country out there. 🙂

  2. Erica

    I had no interest in Chicago’s World Fair – not like, Chicago as a total city! I want to visit Chicago.

    Don’t hate me!

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