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Discussion of The Devil in White City

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Discussion of The Devil in White City

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 03 Dec 2009, 14:22

Please use this thread to discuss the December book of the month, The Devil in White City by Erik Larson. Please do not read this thread until you have read the book because this thread will contain spoilers.

What do you think of the book? Would you recommend it to other people? Are there any short passages or quotes from the book that you especially like?
Last edited by Scott on 06 Jan 2010, 22:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Number:#2  Postby xxfallendays13xx » 05 Dec 2009, 22:04

im on page 158 so far and i gotta say i like it, especially dr. h h. holmes :) he's very smart, just like the perfect murderer should be. i've tried finding record of the fair in my history textbook (currently enrolled in US history 2, we just learned about the late 1800s early 1900s last month) and i cant find it. they talk about the bessemer process and andrew carnegie and i even saw george pullman and buffalo bill in there, but for some reason they left out anything about the whole exposition and burnham. why is that?
guess i have to read the rest of the book to find out...duh lol. maybe something other than a lot of murders occurred that caused prentice hall to exclude the event from their textbook.
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Post Number:#3  Postby Pinkpaper » 09 Dec 2009, 07:45

I finished this the other day.

The first part of the book I guess I found abit slow, readable enough but slow. Once the fair had opened in the 2nd half of the book I started to really enjoy it and by the last few chapters I couldnt put it down.

I was aware of that particular killer (I think I watched a documentry on it once) but didnt know alot about the world fair although after reading about it I wish it was still there esp as ive been to Chicago.

It would have been easy for the author to go off on a tandem and write more about the depression or the paris world fair but he stuck to the subject matter quite well.

I lost count of the times the book mentioned a possible titbit though, for example (which I made up): of course he didnt realise this would soon become a scary premonition...........
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Post Number:#4  Postby CubicleCrazy » 10 Dec 2009, 19:47

Hi - I read this book months ago and I love period pieces, however, the jumping around in time sorta made it a hard read for me personally. Just like the Time Travelers Wife.
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Post Number:#5  Postby ashley » 11 Dec 2009, 07:57

I really like this book! :) Your right dr. h h. holmes is very smart! :wink:
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finished yesterday!

Post Number:#6  Postby xxfallendays13xx » 12 Dec 2009, 11:08

i'm quite satisfied with the book. im usually not into historical nonfiction or nonfiction anything but this author did a good job of introducing me to the interesting side of it. i never thought history could be so fun to read! i loved holmes all the way to end. when he said "take your time, old man," to richardson at the end, i thought, way to go holmes, that's why i love ya. if he wasn't so obsessed with killing, he'd've been something great. the fact that he was obsessed with killing just makes him cooler.

can't wait for to get the january book. =]
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Devil in the White City

Post Number:#7  Postby Sumytra » 13 Dec 2009, 23:38

Oh, my. This one is slow going. I tried reading it about 6 months ago and couldn't get past page 27. This time I've made it to page 35 but I haven't picked it up for about 4 days. There is too much historical detail. It lacks figurative language and reads like a history book. I'm having a difficult time visualizing the filth. It seems more like a medieval city than Chicago in the 19th century. I probably won't finish this thing by the end of January!
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Re: Devil in the White City

Post Number:#8  Postby ConnieH » 18 Dec 2009, 06:56

Sumytra wrote:Oh, my. This one is slow going. I tried reading it about 6 months ago and couldn't get past page 27. This time I've made it to page 35 but I haven't picked it up for about 4 days. There is too much historical detail. It lacks figurative language and reads like a history book. I'm having a difficult time visualizing the filth. It seems more like a medieval city than Chicago in the 19th century. I probably won't finish this thing by the end of January!

Oh thank goodness I am not the only one who felt this way. Usually I can push my way through a slow starting book but I am finding I have to force myself to sit down and read it. Not sure if I am going to finish this one.
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Post Number:#9  Postby victorian.noire » 20 Dec 2009, 20:10

well now i am really excited to rea this one! historical fiction rocks my socks, but i am still waiting for my library to come through for meand deliver it! hopefully soon!
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Re: Devil in the White City

Post Number:#10  Postby Sumytra » 28 Dec 2009, 16:49

ConnieH wrote:
Sumytra wrote:Oh, my. This one is slow going. I tried reading it about 6 months ago and couldn't get past page 27. This time I've made it to page 35 but I haven't picked it up for about 4 days. There is too much historical detail. It lacks figurative language and reads like a history book. I'm having a difficult time visualizing the filth. It seems more like a medieval city than Chicago in the 19th century. I probably won't finish this thing by the end of January!

Oh thank goodness I am not the only one who felt this way. Usually I can push my way through a slow starting book but I am finding I have to force myself to sit down and read it. Not sure if I am going to finish this one.


I've made it to page 80. Hurrah!!!!! It's getting a little more interesting now that Holmes is building his sadistic office building. I'll keep reading this one instead of moving on to the January book, "Curious Incident..." because I've already read that one years ago.
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Post Number:#11  Postby CuppaTea » 16 Jan 2010, 05:01

xxfallendays13xx wrote:.... i've tried finding record of the fair in my history textbook (currently enrolled in US history 2, we just learned about the late 1800s early 1900s last month) and i cant find it....

The exposition was well covered in a class I took in American Art History which covers various art media including architecture. Take a look at Theodore Robinson's painting of the exposition.
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Post Number:#12  Postby AdamWest » 12 Feb 2010, 20:29

Great book!
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Post Number:#13  Postby Marsha » 12 Feb 2010, 20:51

I actually loved the book and found it very informative. My first post and my first time on. Can someone tell me what the book for February is? :oops:
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Post Number:#14  Postby guytwo » 15 Feb 2010, 22:04

victorian.noire wrote:well now i am really excited to rea this one! historical fiction rocks my socks, but i am still waiting for my library to come through for meand deliver it! hopefully soon!


I don't believe that it was historical fiction, but I sure enjoyed it. I read this book a few months ago and then bought more of Eric Larson books. I've enjoyed all of them even though he can be a bit wordy sometimes.
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Re: Devil in the White City

Post Number:#15  Postby Sumytra » 17 Apr 2010, 10:28

Sumytra wrote:
ConnieH wrote:
Sumytra wrote:Oh, my. This one is slow going. I tried reading it about 6 months ago and couldn't get past page 27. This time I've made it to page 35 but I haven't picked it up for about 4 days. There is too much historical detail. It lacks figurative language and reads like a history book. I'm having a difficult time visualizing the filth. It seems more like a medieval city than Chicago in the 19th century. I probably won't finish this thing by the end of January!

Oh thank goodness I am not the only one who felt this way. Usually I can push my way through a slow starting book but I am finding I have to force myself to sit down and read it. Not sure if I am going to finish this one.


I've made it to page 80. Hurrah!!!!! It's getting a little more interesting now that Holmes is building his sadistic office building. I'll keep reading this one instead of moving on to the January book, "Curious Incident..." because I've already read that one years ago.


I finally finished this really boring book. The Devil in the White City was a huge let down. It took me 5 months to get through it.
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