Reviews tagging 'Grief'

白城恶魔 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

10 reviews

sometimes_samantha_reads's review against another edition

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dark emotional informative mysterious sad tense fast-paced

4.5

I recently got a new job and I have an hour commute one way. I'm not usually able to do audiobooks because I get distracted and I was wary of trying to follow a story while also driving, but it turns out listening to an audiobook in the car is great. 

My sister in law recommended this to me. I'm not usually into true crime, but if its paced like this and narrated by Tony Goldwyn, I'm all for it! The parallel stories of Burnahm and Holmes was fascinating and I learned so much. The story was chilling but I kept listening to satisfy the morbid curiosity. I learned that Holmes is supposedly buried less than 30 minutes from where I live, which is wild.

I think I'll try to seek out more audiobooks. I quite liked Tony Goldwyn's narration so I think I'll start there.

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kellyofcali's review against another edition

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dark informative slow-paced

3.75

This is a well written book that crosses two related subjects - one, the world's fair, and two, a serial killer. I found both interesting, which means he did a good job, though I did find it dragged on a little long towards the denouement of both storylines. It's also a little confusing what is real vs. not, though I know that bothers some people more than others.

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sopranna's review against another edition

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dark informative mysterious sad tense slow-paced

3.5

Impressive research, not a good hang. Incredibly dark. 

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wheelygoodreads's review against another edition

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challenging dark sad slow-paced

1.75

I almost put this book down multiple times, as it's very slow to get going, and even then only half of the story, the serial killer portion, was really keeping me engaged. 

Many parts seemed to drag on, no helped by the formatting—this book really could have used shorter chapters, rather than longer sections. Getting through this felt like work.

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sharonus's review against another edition

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dark informative mysterious sad tense medium-paced

4.0


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zakcebulski's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative tense slow-paced

4.25


Erik Larson does it again!
This book only goes to reaffirm my love for Erik Larson and his writing.
From my understanding outside of the world of true crime fandom, this is one of the most popular true crime involved books ever. I can absolutely see why.
What Larson does in this book is nothing short of an absolute achievement of research and storytelling. The amount of coherency he commands while weaving these two utterly complex stories is mind boggling, and a feat that few alive could do.

The book tells two stories, one of the World's Fair of 1893, and one of a man who has been called "America's First Urban Serial Killer"- H. H. Holmes.
The World's Fair section was the part that I knew the least about, going in to reading this book. I knew that it occurred and some of the displays that were unveiled at this fair... and that was it!
However, throughout this book Larson expertly crafts all of the work that went in to designing and constructing this Fair.
I fell in love with learning the intricacies of the architecture- as someone who knows cryptically little about architecture, I commend and appreciate Larson's writing, as he describes this foreign concept in an easily digestible way.
There is a sweeping feeling over grandeur which is captured expertly by Larson as he explains the vastness of the hurdles the Fair committee is trying to overcome.
I thought that this was amazingly well done. There were several scenes in which I felt like I was witnessing an impossible task come to fruition- this was absolutely fascinating to read through.
I will say, on the same coin, this portion of the book did at points drag to me. I was very interested in portions of it, but, for some reason I just felt the pacing slowed down a little bit.

The true crime parts of this book regarding Holmes were absolutely fascinating. It was amazing to see the true amount of forethought which Holmes exhibited, and, how he was truly a super-villain. He built a three story monument to death, depravity, and murder. This is absolutely, and I mean this, terrifying. He built this in an age of non-development by comparison. Imagining the damages he could have caused should he have had access to more modern technology is truly terrifying.
Holmes is one of those people who was born in the right time for what he wanted to do, which is ceaselessly unfortunate, as his wants revolved around manipulation, control and murder.
The amount of thought he put into his murders and his cons was is nearly inhuman- he was truly a man alone in his thoughts and actions.

I have to commend Larson's ability to seamlessly weave these two tales together. Each chapter (primarily) alternates between the World's Fair and the deeds of Holmes. I thought that this was a great way to convey the story, as it was not an oversaturation over either story. There was enough discussion about architecture before skipping over to serial murder and back again.
I never found myself becoming totally bored and glazed over while reading each chapter, and, in fact, I found that there was a great amount of benefit to the pacing specifically in the way this book was written.

I was recommended this book when the Last Podcast on the Left covered H. H. Holmes back in 2016 or so? And, I picked it up right away, but, I never got further than page 40. I am glad that I got through this book, as I feel that this book is one of the modern greats. 
The illustrations of the time are exquisitely illustrated by Larson, and he puts the schema around the age so that we are able to visualize what is going on. 
The sense of wonder of the World's Fair was done in an exceptional way to the point where it truly felt like it was a fairy tale. 
I thought that the epilogue wherein all of the people who worked on the fair had their stories come to an end were so poignant. They had worked to create something absolutely amazing- something that defied the limits of human creation, and once it was done the bittersweet feeling of the end came to them all. 
Also? Learning about all of the shit that was at the World's Fair? The Ferris Wheel and its 2,000 TWO FUCKING THOUSAND passengers? Annie Oakley and Bill Cody? Tesla? Edison? TR? Braille? This place was fucking amazing for human achievement. 
I thought that this book was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who has even a passing fancy in either true crime or history- I think that both sides of this book are well done to the point where even the most fervent fan of either will learn something new.



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reddeddy's review against another edition

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dark informative mysterious sad tense slow-paced

4.0


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librarymouse's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional informative mysterious sad tense medium-paced

3.75

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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ascalun's review against another edition

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challenging dark informative medium-paced

3.5


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renbot's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional funny informative mysterious slow-paced

4.5

An incredible journey where you truly care for the victories and failures of all of the characters

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