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

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By (author) Erik Larson, Read by Tony Goldwyn

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  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Format: CD-Audio
  • Dimensions: 125mm x 142mm x 25mm | 204g
  • Publication date: 3 May 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0739323598
  • ISBN 13: 9780739323595
  • Edition: Abridged
  • Edition statement: abridged edition
  • Sales rank: 388,495

Product description

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. TheDevil 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. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. 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. "From the Hardcover edition."

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Author information

Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac's Storm, has written for "Harper's," "The New Yorker," " The Atlantic Monthly," and "Time," where he is a contributing writer. He is a former staff writer for "The Wall Street Journal." He lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, and assorted pets, including a golden retriever named Molly. "From the Trade Paperback edition."

Review quote

" Engrossing . . . exceedingly well documented . . . utterly fascinating." -- "Chicago Tribune "" A dynamic, enveloping book. . . . Relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramtic effect of a novel. . . . It doesn' t hurt that this truth is stranger than fiction." " --The New York Times "" So good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already." -- "Esquire "" Another successful exploration of American history. . . . Larson skillfully balances the grisly details with the far-reaching implications of the World' s Fair." -- "USA Today "" As absorbing a piece of popular history as one will ever hope to find." -- "San Francisco Chronicle "" Paints a dazzling picture of the Gilded Age and prefigure the American century to come." -- "Entertainment Weekly "" A wonderfully unexpected book. . . Larson is a historian . . . with a novelist' s soul." -- "Chicago Sun-Times " "From the Trade Paperback edition."

Flap copy

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. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. 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."From the Hardcover edition.