This one event had a real impact on the course of American history. It’s one of those really interesting events once you dig into it…
I have not read this book yet, but I think I may put it on my x-mas list…
I really liked Devil in the White City. It’s a crazy, true crime thriller with lots of cool history. Worth a read
I listened to the audiobook while working about a year ago. I was expecting it to be interesting, but it really went above and beyond and I loved every minute.
A fantastic book.
Another Larson book, Isaac’s Storm, is also a very worthwhile read.
I used to pick up my packages from the post office standing on the ground the “Murder Palace” used to occupy. Rumor has it that some of the basement is still there, although that doesn’t seem likely, as the razing of the building was quite thorough.
Some of the artifacts are still in the Chicago area (like the Viking long ship), and of course the current Museum of Science and Industry was the Fine Arts Building during the Fair.
There’s some sort of metaphor in this
I’ll second (or third) the recommendation. It’s a well-written, well-researched and fun non-fiction read.
My wife had already read the book before we watched the “Timeless” episode where they go to the Worlds Fair and run into Holmes. I therefore had to read it and am glad I did. It was a fascinating dual story with amazing things happening at the Fair and the Murder Castle.
i’ll join the chorus – i thought it was an excellent book.
I strongly recommend any of Erik Larson’s books, especially, but not limited to:
Hear hear, great F-ing book!
I believe the movie or series is still trapped in development hell.
Probably so, and I’d wager that the 1939 World’s Fair in New York had quite a bit of influence as well. It had a “hub and spoke” layout with different thematic zones that were similar to how Disneyland’s themed lands are laid out. It even had a really cool omnimover type ride called Futurama.
Is there an equally good book about the fair that doesn’t depend on the framing device of serial killing? I love the concept of the world’s fairs and would gladly read a book about this one, but I don’t want or need true crime elements. The world is fascinating enough without mass murder being the thing we all remember about events like this.
The true crime trend is more similar to the cheap sensationalism of PT Barnum rather than the eye opening experience of a world’s fair.
Years ago I read a great one about the 1939 World’s Fair. It did have a section that discussed a time bomb that was found at the British Pavilion and tragically killed two bomb squad detectives, but that wasn’t the main focus or framing device of the book.
Unfortunately I’m finding a bunch of books with similar titles and subject matter and I’m not 100% sure which one I read…
It’s been many years since I read it, but my recollection is that the chapters alternate between the building of the park and its attractions, and the serial killing. You should be able to read every other chapter and avoid most if not all of the other story.
Larson’s book goes into just as much detail about the design and building of the fair, and the individuals involved, as it does about the killings. If they could be separated, that would be the book you want. I don’t remember if the two stories are told in different chapters or not, but you could possibly just skip the serial killer parts, depending on how sensitive you are to them.
Thanks for the recommendation (@Mongrove as well!). It’s not so much that I am sensitive to the murder stuff, it’s just that I don’t understand why it is so popular. That goes for the fascination with serial killers and true crime in general.
I’m sure the chapters about the fair are more interesting than the ones about one sick individual, but it’s just sad that the book would not be nearly as popular if it did only feature those parts.
IIRC, there are one or two good (if not a bit dry) documentary films that focus on the fair that are on Amazon Prime Video / Netflix / one of them dang ‘ol streaming services. It sounds like it was a fascinating time.