Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lost Book Gem: "The Devil In The White City" - Erik Larson (2004)


"Your life is white
And I don't think 
I like you hanging around."
~ Big Star ~

NO SPOILERS:
In this 447 page novel, Erik Larson has given his readers quite a creative historical perspective of late 1800s Chicago by combining two completely unrelated events that were occuring during the same period.

It was during this time, Daniel Burnham took on the almost impossible challenge of designing the "next" World's Fair. And while the whole world was watching, nearly everything that could go wrong...did.  Larsen makes the pressures of completing this task almost unbearable for the reader and quite the page-turner,

But, as I said, there are two events going on in this heavily researched story.
H.H. Holmes

While the construction of this legendary fair was being tackled...America's first documented serial killer, H.H. Holmes, was beginning his attack on women "mostly" and doing away with the bodies in uniquely creative methods (i.e. a homemade gas chamber, barrels of acid, black ovens...).  He would later confess to 27 murders.

In the back-and forth story plot, readers are taken on a journey that shows the comings and goings of Chicago during this busy time from two distinct view points. It should be noted that Larson chose to leave out the grisly details of the crimes without causing the story to suffer.
The first Ferris Wheel at the 1893 Chicago's World Fair.

Surprisingly, the challenges of putting on the Chicago's World's Fair is equally as fascinating as the pursuit of Holmes.

"Life Is White"  -  Big Star / Radio City (1974)


Don't like to see your face
don't like to hear you talk at all
I could be with Ann
but I'd just get bored

Can't even bring myself to call
and I don't want to see you now
cause I know what you lack
and I can't go back to that.

Whatever's all the same
now there's nobody to know
and I can't recall-recall your name
all I can say is so.

Your life is white
and I don't think I like
you hanging around.


Casey Chambers
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4 comments:

Liberty said...

Thanks for the Big Star Casey, The book looks good too. I always thought the first ferris wheel was in St. Louis in 1904....meet me in St. Louis..Louis...meet me at the fair....

Casey said...

Liberty..i do remember that St.Louis diddy..and don't you know...the person who invented it...the ferris wheel...was a dude named...you guessed it...Ferris!
Thanks for dropping by!

whiteray said...

Great, great book, Casey. It's one that enthralled me. Amazing!

Casey said...

Whiteray,
I've heard they are making a movie based on these events. If they don't go too cheap in Hollywood...it might turn out to be a pretty decent flick.
Appreciate the feed.