Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Devil In The White City: An Overview and Blog

Okay, so I just finished the final book (of 3... hear this one, Education Dept? Nope? Okay...) assigned to me for this summer. Granted, I have 4 days to spare. I consider myself somewhat of a procrastinator... which is a bad trait.

Nevertheless, one of the things I had to do for the one was keep a journal. Which I did on a parallel site, but due to issues I am not publishing the whole thing. I am going to just post the overview on my main site, next Friday. So, technically the following is the second written, first in a series of book reviews I want to do on this site. It's one of the new format ideas I have, and I'm going to see how this works. Here goes nothing.

The Devil In The White City: An Overview

So I recently finished the novel The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. 

The author's note is unlike any other author's note I've read... I'll quote it:
"However strange or macabre some of the following incidents may seem, this is not a work of fiction."
This alone intrigued me.

The basic premise of the novel, is alternating chapters. Half of it tells about Daniel H. Burnham, an architect that rose to fame by being one of the key figures in the creation of the Chicago 1893 World's fair, and the other half is devoted to the serial  killer (just blocks away from this fair) living under the alias H.H.Holmes.

I was warned ahead of time that parts may be boring. I found quite the opposite to be true. The whole book was up in the ranks of books that I've read... almost to the level of Jay Scribble.

The Architect's adventures start at being a small Chicago firm, and then arranging all of the best architects in the nation at that time to combine powers to build over 200 structures... with a timespan of less than three years.

This adventure gave new meaning of "down to the wire". But once completed, this world's fair was one of the defining moment's in our nation's history. And it seemed like an awesome time to be alive.

Alive, that is, if you aren't a beautiful young woman seduced by H.H. Holmes. He'd seduce women into working for him, and in some cases marrying him. The marriage count, at my last count, was like 5 wives... with no formal divorce ever finalized...

He'd have these women move into a building of his own design. Once she got too needy, Dr. H.H.Holmes kicked in and, well, killed her. His "Murder Castle" was home to a gas chamber, dissecting table, and of course crematorium.

He admitted to 27 killings, and only 4 were ever confirmed, with one estimate reaching 200. If you're as fascinated in this, I'd highly recommend reading Wikipedia about it...

I highly recommend the book... get it from a local library or something.

So that's all for now... Have you read the book? Comment!

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