Quicklet on Erik Larson's The Devil in White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America
The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America is about the making of a great city and the development of two extraordinary, yet utterly disparate, men. The book is set in Chicago just before and during the 1983 Worlds Columbian Exposition (or the Worlds Fair as its more commonly known). Chicago is perched on the precipice of a great transformation, but whether for good or bad remains to be seen Larson tells the story of the fair through the eyes of two men, both brilliant, each representing a different side of the city where they live. Daniel Burnham, a businessman and architect, has a vision of the glorious city Chicago can become. He represents the purity of spirit, innovation and diligence that make Chicago a great city. H. H. Holmes, a charming psychopath who uses the fair to lure his victims, represents the citys darker side. Holmes is as efficient in his killing as the citys slaughterhouses, and as destructive as its frequent fires. As Burnham elevates the citys reputation, Holmes threatens to destroy its burgeoning greatness.
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