• The Devil in the White City

  • De : Erik Larson
  • Lu par : Scott Brick
  • Durée : 15 h
  • Version intégrale Livre audio
  • Date de publication : 12/09/2003
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Éditeur : Random House Audio
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3,7 (3 notations)


In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The White City (as it became known) was a magical creation constructed upon Chicago's swampy Jackson Park by Daniel H. Burnham, the famed architect who coordinated the talents of Frederick Olmsted, Louis Sullivan, and others to build it. Dr. Henry H. Holmes combined the fair's appeal with his own fatal charms to lure scores of women to their deaths. Whereas the fair marked the birth of a new epoch in American history, Holmes marked the emergence of a new American archetype, the serial killer, who thrived on the very forces then transforming the country.
In deft prose, Larson conveys Burnham's herculean challenge to build the White City in less than 18 months. At the same time, he describes how, in a malign parody of the achievements of the fair's builders, Holmes built his own World's Fair Hotel - a torture palace complete with a gas chamber and crematorium. Throughout the book, tension mounts on two fronts: Will Burnham complete the White City before the millions of visitors arrive at its gates? Will anyone stop Holmes as he ensnares his victims?
©2003 Erik Larson (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
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"A hugely engrossing chronicle of events public and private." ( Chicago Tribune)
"Vivid history of the glittering Chicago World's Fair and its dark side." ( New York Magazine)
"Both intimate and engrossing, Larson's elegant historical account unfolds with the painstaking calm of a Holmes murder."( Library Journal)
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3 out of 5 stars
Auteur(s) : Pierre Gauthier le 29/10/2017

Interesting but not Perfect!

This work intertwines the planning, construction and unwinding of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago with the doings of a serial killer that went on in that city at the same period.

Thus, the narrative basically alternates between the actions of luminaries such as Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted and those of a mad criminal. A third plot is also meshed in, regarding another madman living in his delusions.

Though the three series of characters never meet, there is initially a unity of time and place and a strong suspense is developed.

Sadly, about three quarters of the way through, this unity is lost as the Exhibition is closed, the murderer carries his deeds to various other locations such as Philadelphia and Toronto and the madman has been arrested.

The epilogue however does bring all the loose ends together and tells of the final fate of all major protagonists.

There clearly was an outstanding amount of research carried out by the author although, as he himself mentions, his imagination was required to make things fit together. He may also be criticized for his overly lengthy macabre descriptions that appear unnecessary.

Though not perfect, this partially fictional work will certainly prove worthwhile, particularly to those interested in architecture and urban planning.

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