Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness in the Fair that Changed AmericaBy Erik Larsen

The Magic of the White City is the title of a DVD I just checked out from the library after finishing this book. I also spent better than an hour on the Internet this past weekend looking up more information on the Columbian World’s Exhibition of 1893 because my curiosity has been so aroused after reading Devil in the White City.
I love reading historical fiction and this story – although officially a non-fiction book – reads more like a novel. The author weaves together the facts and personalities involved in the huge and costly undertaking of the fair with the sinister and mysterious story of H. H. Holmes, the serial killer who took advantage of trusting young women who came to Chicago for the fair or just looking for work during the economic depression of those years.
I will admit that I did not spend any time pondering the details of the crimes committed by Holmes. My focus was primarily spent on the fair and the incredible spectacle it must have been! I wish we had details of the numbers of people who came from far away states or countries. The author explains that the numbers were lower than Burnham and the other developers had hoped for, but the depressed economy was to blame. I remember hearing my mother and aunts saying that some of their aunts and uncles had gone to the fair, and how I wish I could read their journals or letters today!
Now I’m going to quit writing and take a look at this DVD to learn some more about the fair!

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