The Devil in the White City

By: Erik Larson

"I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing." - Dr. H. H. Holmes

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” - Daniel Burnham

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The Devil in the White City was written by Erik Larson, a non-fiction author who has written a number of best sellers. Born in Brooklyn, Larson began his writing career with being a journalist. Later Larson went on to write books like In the Garden of Beasts, about Nazi Germany and Isaac's Storm, a story of a men in the Galveston Hurricane.

Chicago World's Fair of 1893

The Chicago World's Fair, also know as "the white city" is one of the main focus of this novel. The book takes place during the construction of the fair, the days it was open, and the closing of the fair. It was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival to the new world. the exposition covered nearly 600 acres and was designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmsted. 27 million people attended the fair while it was open for only 6 months.
1893 World's Fair - History Fair Documentary
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Daniel Burnham

The novel The Devil in the White City follows the story of two main characters. One of these characters is Daniel Burnham during the time of the Chicago World's Fair. Burnham was responsible for overlooking all designs and construction for the fair. Under Burnham's direction, the construction of the Fair overcame huge financial and logistical hurdles, including a worldwide financial panic and an extremely tight timeframe, to open on time.

Dr. H H Holmes

Dr. H H Holmes

Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. H H Holmes, was Americas first documented serial killer. At Chicago during the time of the fair Holmes opened a hotel designed to assist him with his murders.It was called the World's Fair Hotel but later became known as the Murder Castle. The novel tells the story of how Holmes built the mysterious hotel and how he got away with murder. Holmes confessed to murdering 27 people but was only convicted for 9. The actual amount of people he killed can be around 200.

The First Ferris Wheel

The first Ferris Wheel was invented by George Ferris. His goal was to create something for the World Fair that would out do the Eiffel Tower, which was the main exhibit at another fair in France.With a height of 80.4 meters it was the largest attraction at the fair.