The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

13Sep12

This book has been somewhat popular recently I think.  It is nonfiction, hence it took me a bit longer to get through.  It is about the building and celebration of the World’s Fair in Chicago in the 1890s.  Jeff and I were just thinking about the World’s Fair when we were in Memphis- at some point I guess the fair was there and there is a park of sorts that remains but it was pretty minimal.

This was one of the first fairs- the one after the one in Paris when the Eiffel Tower was commissioned.  The Chicago fair boasted the first ferris wheel among other cool things apparently.  The other half of the book is about a serial killer that preyed upon the popularity of the fair.  It is a book where you expect the two stories to intertwine at some point… but they never really do, except that they both take place in Chicago at the same time.

The part of the book about the building of the fair- the architects, planners etc is moderately interesting but also kind of boring.  The part of the book about the serial killer is disturbing.  It is also written very matter of factly without a lot of suspense that you could maybe put in a mystery-ish type story.

You can probably tell I didn’t love this book.  Another reason it took awhile to get through.  If you like historical murder-mystery types than this book is just right for you, otherwise I’d probably pick a different one.  2.5/5 stars (post by Meghan)

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