Monday, July 3, 2006

Book Review: Devil in the White City

I've decided that I need to read more. I thought it would be fun to write up reviews of books that I read. I have a goal to read at least 1 book each week. Check back often to read reviews of the recent books I've read.

The first book is Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it! Click on the title's link to find it on Amazon, where you can search the book plus read excerpts and reviews

This is not my usual choice of a book, but it was recommended by a friend. It is a non-fiction book. I usually only stick to fiction; however, this book really reads like fiction. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much.

This book takes place in the late-1890s during the planning and construction of Chicago's World's Fair. The story revolves around two men--an architect and a serial killer. These two men most likely never met, but their stories are both linked to the World's fair.

I thought that this was very cleverly written. Larson, chapter by chapter, describes the events surrounding both of these men alternating one with the other. This helps to create a lot of suspense and desire to continue reading. You will be very intrigued by the happenings of one man, and then suddenly, you will begin a new chapter about the other man, become very intrigued only to be shifted back to the first again. At times this was a little frustrating, but I thought it really did add to the enjoyment of the book.

I also enjoyed this book, because I never really knew just how influential the World's Fair in Chicago was. Many of the products and appliances that we rely on today find their roots at this fair. It is fascinating. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a work of non-fiction. There are pages and pages of notes in the back of the book. Most of Larson's sources were from newspapers of the day. It amazes me just how much research he must have put into this book. I can't help but wonder just how long the research took him.

If you're looking for something to read this summer, I'd definitely recommend adding this book to your list.

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