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The Devil in the White City 
20th-Jul-2007 01:05 pm

I have been catching up on my reading and give myself a pat on the back for having already finished three books this month. For three days I found myself engrossed in Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” – a real life tale about architecture and murder in 1890’s Chicago. The great thing about this non-fiction book is that Larson perused his research materials and documentations by interweaving facts into a story so compelling that you find it almost impossible to put down (it reminds me so much of Capote’s “In Cold Blood”).

The book’s main characters are Daniel Burnham, the chief architect of the White City (Chicago’s World Fair), and H.H. Holmes, the sociopath killer who preyed on women coming to see the fair. Although the two men never met, their stories work so well together and their contrast – beauty and evil - makes this book very well written. The fact that it is also informative is an added bonus, and lets not forget the cast of characters – Buffalo Bill, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Astor, just to name a few. I have to admit however that if it wasn't for the murder story, the book wouldn't be as intriguing.

Overall, I was mesmerized by the world Mr. Larson had recreated. A must read. I recommend it.

Other recommendation: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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