The Devil in the White City

By: Erik Larson

Plot Summary

The Devil in the White City is a literary nonfiction novel that spans the years surrounding the building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, also known as The World's Columbian Exposition, which was designed to commemorate the landing of Columbus in America. This nonlinear novel is divided into four parts with the first three parts of the novel primarily taking place in Chicago between the years 1890-1893. However, Part IV of the novel takes the reader to Philadelphia circa 1895. In The Devil in the White City author Erik Larson uses extensive research to recreate the lives of two real men and to reinvent Chicago during the World's Columbian Exposition. In the process, he creates two separate, yet connected plot lines and attempts to fill in some of the gaps left by history. One plot line centers on Daniel Burnham, the architect who builds the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The other plot line focuses on character H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who exploits the fair to find his victims.