22 January 2007

The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White Cityby Erik Larson was a good book. It's about the Chicago World's Fair, something I've wanted to learn more about after reading snatches of stories about the fair for years. This was a great introduction.

The bulk of the book was about Daniel Burnham, the overseer and moving force behind the fair. There was a minor story running through the book about H.H. Holmes, a psychopathic murderer who lived in Chicago during the fair.

The parts about the fair itself were unquestionably better than the parts about Holmes. While it was an effective storytelling device to weave Holmes story throughout the book, I got tired of it and finally skipped ahead to read the parts about Holmes to get him out of the way. Larson clearly didn't have much to work with when writing about Holmes and I felt he had to stretch things a bit to keep that part of the story going.

I'd have liked to have heard more about the fair and its effects and I could have totally skipped Holmes. Still this was a good book to read. Recommended.

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