Monday, 6 May 2013

The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson


"Darker forces marshaled in the smoke. Somewhere in the heart of the city a young Irish immigrant sank still more deeply into madness, the preamble to an act that would shock the nation and destroy what Burnham dreamed would be the single greatest moment of his life."

Looks like another non-fiction book has wheedled its way into my blog. Having said that, this one makes for compelling reading. Juxtaposing the architectural feats and project management nightmares of the Chicago World Fair of 1893 with the diabolical dealings of a local serial killer, the book alternates between horror, stress, disaster and the importance of boat selection.
The writing is fabulous, instilling a sense of excitement into the construction process, while downplaying the grotesque manoeuvres of Mr Holmes. At first I was a little shocked by the very different dual story lines, yet as the tale progressed I was increasingly fascinated. There were times where I would have rather focused entirely on one of the stories, as the prevailing storyline abruptly shifted. Those distracting shifts are my reasoning for deducting one point. In any case, this is an interesting and at times unbelievable story.  4 out of 5 trips around the Ferris Wheel.

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