Teaser Tuesdays: The Devil in the White City

13 Dec

I’m really excited about the book I’m reading this week! During a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, I picked up a copy of The Devil in the White City. As I mentioned in my Musing Mondays post, I usually shy away from nonfiction books – I prefer the interesting plot and engaging characters depicted in fictional narratives. Yet in The Devil in the White City, author Erik Larson describes a historical event – the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago – with the drama and excitement most often present in works of fiction.

In The Devil in the White City, Larson weaves together the story of two men involved in the 1893 World’s Fair – Daniel Burnham, the architect who designed the “fair that changed America”; and Henry Holmes, the serial killer who preyed upon those drawn to the fair’s extravagance. I haven’t gotten far in the book yet – I just started it yesterday. But I’m already hooked! The beginning of the book focuses on the events that led up to the fair – Burnham’s success as an architect, Chicago’s bid to host the fair, and more. Larson then shifts the focus back and forth between his two main “characters” – Burnham and Holmes – by discussing their connection to the fair in alternating chapters. Here is an excerpt from the author’s note:

“Beneath the gore and smoke and loam, this book is about the evanescence of life, and why some men choose to fill their brief allotment of time engaging the impossible, others in the manufacture of sorrow. In the end it is a story of the ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the White City and the Black” (xi).

Sounds interesting, right!? I can’t wait to read the rest!


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