History Book Club

Northeast Library

History Book Club

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 7 p.m.

The Devil in the White City

Come join us in discussing the New York Times bestseller, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.

This book intertwines the histories of Daniel H. Burnham and others organizing the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, a serial killer who uses the fair as an opportunity to prey upon the crowds who come to the fair. Written in a narrative style, Larson focuses on the difficult work and many setbacks Burnham went through to make the fair happen and to conform it to his vision.

The murderer Holmes is a chilling figure, just as driven at Burnham but his work results in the death of at least 27 people at his hands.

Larson builds the suspense throughout the book, alternating chapters between his two narratives and weaving together the excitement around the fair and the horror of the murders. We're sure to have an exciting discussion about urban life, turn-of-the-century America and the beauty and depravity of which humanity is capable.