The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For anyone who might question why I might give this a four-star rating rather than the six-star rating that its research deserves, it's because it's mostly a ton of facts, interesting or otherwise, and not quite the kind of coherent narrative a person might expect as a regular novel.
That being said, it's really a fun and easy read that explores so much of what made the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 a real eye opener and imagination-sparker for pretty much all of America.
As a side-note, or perhaps a parallel-note, it focuses rather heavily on H. H. Holmes, serial murderer extreme who was the American equivalent of Jack the Ripper and contemporary of the same.
We have two sides of the extreme going on here. Love and ambition and art and beauty running through the muck of the extremely dirty and bloated Chicago of the day, focusing on the nasty murderer for the shock value and the dark side of the mirror. I can't complain. It's both full of facts and a truly faithful description of the times, the players that made the Fair fantastic, as well as the failings, the madness, and the horror of its underside.
Awe and Horror, folks.
It's the same coin with two sides.
For that and the fact that this novel is overflowing with awesome history, I loved it. What is fiction is relatively minor compared to the fact that it's mostly real history! And frankly, I was kinda amazed at how many cool bits I did learn!
Spectacle and Terror, folks! :) Gotta love it.
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