Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Devil in the White City Book/Future Movie Review

Rating 4

Hi everyone!  If you were able to read this or even just begin it, I hope you have enjoyed the history and story.  It was an incredible book recommended to me this summer by one of our local life guards.  Wow, I was so impressed with what I was reading.  To read the two stories simultaneously really gave the impact of good and evil a more powerful touch.
 I appreciate the author's use of research.  He didn't use the internet but went and found hard copy information.  He went and interviewed people and got other sources and information.  At times, I felt the historical aspect of how the World Fair came about was a bit long and boring, but it didn't outweigh the incredible story. I wish I had a better review than this, but I think a discussion will be more appropriate for the material.

1893 Chicago World's Fair (Columbian Exposition) main architects and committee

Daniel Hudson Burnham

John Wellborn Root

Frederick Law Olmsted

The cunning, smooth, clever killer, Herman Mudgett
AKA H. H. Holmes 

Yes, I really think leo could pull this role off!

His "murder castle"

A few of Holmes's victims:
Julia Connor

Emeline Cigrand

Minnie Williams

Benjamin Pitezel (Holmes's partner in insurance fraud) and his family

Nellie Pitezel

Alice Pietzel

Howard Pitzel

Columbian World Fair in all it's glory

Inside the Electricity Building

Evening light spectacular

World's first Ferris Wheel

Here is a great summary of the Columbian World Exposition.  It also has more photos as well.   I look forward to your review!


  1. How would you define Holmes's personality? I haven't had a chance to really investigate, but I would think he was a sociopath. The guy had no remorse and no problem doing people in. Even children. The guy was a smooth operator and knew exactly what he wanted and how to achieve it.

    1. http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

      This site seems to give pretty good examples of sociopath behavior and thought.

    2. Wow! This is some scary stuff to read LB. There is no medication to treat this disorder. Wow! just wow!

  2. Great, great pictures LB. I've only read the first 2 chapters so far. However, I like the story only having read two chapters.

    1. Hi OB!

      I'm glad you like it so far. Are there any parts in these chapters you would like to discuss or found interesting? I find the research and history quite incredible. At first you wonder where it is all going, but you need backstory to get to the point of the novel. What it took to get the exposition built and run is mind blowing.

    2. Yes! I'm almost finish reading it. I think I will finish by this weekend. However, I love the historical detail regarding the city planning and architectural/landscape design that's so finely laid out. It really makes the story and characters more realistic. Gosh! This is not for the faint at heart though. I still can't get over he murdered the poor old lady who owned the drug store who was taking care of her sick husband. I'm not even going to discuss his wife. O.k. I will come back once I'm finished.

    3. Yes, it is very historical and detailed...so much so that sometimes I was overwhelmed. However, looking at the pictures really helped. I think it also goes to show anyone just how much hard work goes into creating something memorable and wonderful. There are usually many obstacles to overcome, but if you can get through them, the reward is great!

  3. Hi Ladies!

    I haven't had a chance to read this yet. I'm definitely planning on it though. Did he kill for the fun of it or were these people persons he had a vendetta against?

    1. Hi Paris,

      Well I don't want to spoil it for u. However, he claims he killed them because he was poor. He took out life insurance policies against his victims. This was his thing. The book gets right to the point in letting the reader know this about him. So I'm not ruining anything by telling u this. The book is very compelling.

    2. Paris!

      I think you will love this story! I agree with OB to an extent that he killed these people because he was poor, but I also tend to really believe he was one sick SOB because he enjoyed watching his victims suffer. He had no remorse (although he says contrary. I call BS on that) and knew how smooth and handsome he was to the ladies. He used that to his advantage. He was a smooth sick operator. The fact that he would kill children tells me what a sick b@st@rd he really was.

    3. ITA he had ABSOLUTELY NO REMORSE. The way he died was far human than the way he killed his victims. I still think he got off easy. Also, I nearly wanted to throw the book across the room. After reading how Holmes charmed and make friends with the guards in prison. What drug did he give them? THAT WAS CRAZY! See now I'm getting upset again. Let me stop.

  4. Ok! I just finished the book. I'm just blown away. I had to stop and start a few times because I was so angry. ITA Holmes was a SOB. The way he got off on torturing his victims was more than I could tolerate or stomach reading. I found myself skipping over those parts where I knew his next victim was a goner. I did not enjoy reading how they died. Especially the way he killed the three children at the end. What made reading this book tolerable was the parallel story about the design of the "White City." I really enjoyed reading about these architects coming together and developing their vision. That was AMAZING! I loved the pictures littered throughout. I can't tell you how impressed I was with the research by Erik Larson for this book. His comparative and logistical analysis of the facts were impeccable.

  5. One more thing. Given how I like my "Woodies." I was completely mortified reading how the first "Ferris Wheel" was disposed of. I literally had a tear in my eye. It was a work of art and they just trashed it once they could not earn money off of rides anymore. It should have been put in a museum they could have earned money that way. Ok I'm angry again. Darn it!