The Devil In The White City by Eric Larson (Bookies Review)

This is a BOOKIES review page.  Bookies is my book club and this page will discuss the book greater detail and may contain spoilers.   You are welcome to join in on the questions and answers through the comment area.

1.  Why do you think Eric Larson chose to tell Burham and Holmes stories together?

Bookies response:  Separately they would not have made the story as well-rounded.  Burnhams side was all historical facts of the fair and the making of… Holmes side was dark and evil in the presence of the fair.  They compliment each other.

2.  If you were to read about one topic or the other what would you choose?

Most of the Bookies thought the fair facts were interesting and they could read a book just about that, I however found that I would probably be more drawn to the dark murderous line.

3.  What did the fair contribute to the architectural landscape of the United States?

Bookies said that this was an awesome part of the book… rebar was actually created at the fair.  Architectural design took a whole new level, the ferris wheel is a fair staple and the first one came out of this fair.

4.  How did the Chicago fair change Chicago?

Bookies responded that it made Chicago a contender… before hardly a bleep on the radar, suddenly Chicago was a happening place.  Along with the fair came many inventions – shredded wheat, Juicy fruit gum, Cracker Jacks, music was created specifically for the fair, AC/DC current and the Pledge of Allegiance was said as a group for one of the first times at the fair.

5.  How was Holmes able to get away with so many murders?

Bookies responded Holmes had a way about him.  he put men at ease, he made women interested.  He had a way of showing such great interest in you that you felt like you were the most important person in the world.  He was not a suspect type person.  With no conscience, the truth of his life never showed on him.

6.  We ended our discussion discussing the men of the book and what drove them and if in the end their goals were achieved…

Burnham – wanted to be the best and wanted to be known for it.  Recognition was huge to him.  Wealth was huge to him.  He was looking for revenge for the schools that had turned him down to go as an Architect (Yale and Harvard).  He never was satisfied.

Olmsted – A perfectionist… driven by his craft, he was always driven to the end.

Ferris – just wanted to create and had a mind for plans, and accepting failure and starting over.  He knew it would work and it did.  He led a satisfying life.

Holmes – He was about death, and power over people.  He never could reach his fill… and spent his life running from bill collectors and maneuvering people to where he wanted them.  there would never be enough… there was no end.

Overall the Bookies rated this book (on a scale of 1-5) a pretty solid 4.  We found the book interesting and informative.

Hmmmm... what do you think?

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