Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
This New York Times bestseller was first published a decade ago. Since we have The Devil in the White City in a convenient book club kit, I decided to suggest it to my book club; which they readily agreed to. This nonfiction work is basically two stories in one. Alternating chapters tell the story of architect Daniel Burnham, who oversaw the design and construction of an entire city within a city during the Chicago exposition of 1893; juxtaposed with the heinous crimes of serial killer H.H. Holmes. The author's extensive research is apparent on every page. His concise writing style captured me through nearly 400 pages. And, like any good book, I was sad to see it end. To me, the most fascinating part of this book is demonstrated in the long reaching extent to which the fair influenced the design and layout of modern cities. The fair proved that cities didn't have to be dingy, unsafe bastions, they could be both functional and beautiful on a wider scale.
Recommended for anyone that likes historical nonfiction.