Books Read in 2012: The Devil in the White City

by Kayla Trail

Another thing I’m trying to do this year is to read a lot more. The first book I want to talk is this book, The Devil in the White City. I mentioned to my friend that I had a strange fascination with serial killers and she lent me this book. And let me tell you, it sure captured my fascination.

This is the first book I’ve read by Eric Larson and let me tell you, it won’t be the last. This is a work of non-fiction but there were times I forgot that I was not reading a novel and had to remind myself that these things actually happened.

This book is a thrilling account of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, from the moment when the city finds out that it is hosting the fair, through it’s construction and the pains and glories which that entailed. But likewise it accounts the actions of one Dr. H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer.

Holmes was an incredible man, making his way through medical school to become a doctor. Just in time for the World’s Fair, Holmes developed what was dubbed “the castle,” a hotel built with secret passages, air tight vaults and torture chambers. It is still unclear just how many people Holmes killed during the few years of his time in the castle. Four victims are confirmed but it is believed he killed many more.

This book brilliantly juxtaposes the brilliance of man, whether that genius be put to uses such as erecting the marvel that was the Ferris Wheel or the more sinister plans of Dr. Holmes.

“I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing.”  -Dr. H.H.Holmes