Devil in the White City Audiobook

Devil in the White City Audiobook


Written By: Erik Larson
Narrated By: Tony Goldwyn
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Date: February 2003
Duration: 6 hours 0 minutes

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Devil in the White City Audiobook Summary

In The Devil in the White City, the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.

Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

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Devil in the White City Audiobook Reviews

Erik Larson has produced a prodigy of sentiment and documentation, an invaluable non-fiction testimony to the driving heart of the United States, against practically insurmountable odds of rivalry, envy, greed, talent and vision, the human qualities that in another context might defeat any project. What is a project but teamwork? But there must be a team and its components must be disposed to a common goal. The Columbia Fair of Chicago of 1893 was an intangible, it was a flight to the moon, and simply not possible, yet it was miraculously accomplished, despite crippling delays, backbiting, financial obstacles, and was a towering success. Twenty-six million people saw it, and had it gotten off the ground earlier and better could have doubled that number. I first read this book when it initially appeared in 2003, and while recently reading a biography of Nikola Tesla was reminded of its scope and magic and ordered it in Kindle to read again. So pleased that I did. I relived the miracle of Chicago architecture, was reminded that Chicago is my favorite American city, was newly dazzled by the magnificence of the buildings and layout and the scintillating impression of the recent miracle of electricity, applied on a vast scale. The parallel story of an outrageous criminal lends additional suspense and excitement to this journalistic masterwork.

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