The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
I was inspired by an post on Instagram encouraging reading books that have been on your shelf a long time. This one has probably been unread on my shelf the longest, seriously years and years. I was vaguely familiar with the HH Holmes story because it came up in a crime literature class in college, but I wanted to know more, plus this book has been hyped forever.
I’m glad I read it but I can’t say it’s a favorite. I found it very slow for the first 2/3 and it almost seems like two books, the story of Burnham and building the world’s fair and the HH Holmes creepy hotel of horror have very little overlap and each could stand alone. (Though tbh the building of the fair portions of the book weren’t that interesting to me and read more like a history textbook than I would like for a recreational read.) The history of Chicago was enjoyable
The last 50 or so pages redeemed the slowness of the bulk of the novel and increased my opinion of it. The whole book is incredibly well researched and intelligent, but there were so many peripheral characters in the architecture portion I just wanted to fast forward through some of those chapters.
I will definitely look forward to checking out Jackson park next time we are in Chicago, I didn’t realize the museum of science and industry is built on the north end of the park where the world’s fair took place, we’ve visited that museum dozens of times and had no idea.
I feel like I am the last person on earth to read this book so there’s nothing new in this review, but I’m happy to have one book no longer languishing on my shelf. 3.5/5 stars ⭐️
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