kingsteph's review against another edition

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nichola's review against another edition

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I am constantly astonished by the skill required to write good and engaging Nonfiction.

If you want to read a book about H H Holmes and true crime this is not for you. This is not the Biography of America's first serial killer. This is a brilliant snapshot (the origins of the word which I learnt from this book) of the history of America and in specific Chicago during a stunning period in history where men could do all things. And yes I say men, specifically. Also, I mean this with all the good and the bad clumped together.

This book stunned me in the best way. I feel like I have been immersed in a time and place and absorbed the world's magic and terror.

This book feels like an incredible explanation for why America is the way it is.

If you like Susan Orlean and her craft for recreating a moment in time on a page this is definitely a brilliant choice of reading material.

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librarymouse's review against another edition

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The literary descriptions and firsthand accounts of the fair, and the effort and love put into it's design and creation made me wish I could have attended. The detailed descriptions of Holmes' murders and his disarmingly charming personality made me glad that I was born over a full century after 1893. I like greatly enjoyed The Devil in the White City, the second half was a far easier read than the first. I'm not sure if I've retained as much of the information about the fair's designers and the events that took place while it was open as I wanted to. While interesting, the section about the initial design process and the political lobbying that took place in order to get the fair to occur in Chicago read similarly to a textbook, in stark contrast with the narrative way the rest of the history was told. Overall, an informative and interesting read. I would use enjoyable to describe the writing, but not the content.

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