The Devil in the White City

TDitWCbyELOne of my goals this year is to read more nonfiction. I haven’t made too much progress on that, but at least my goal is only to read more and not a specific number… I like my nonfiction a bit on the weird side and this book kind of fit into that niche

The Devil in the White City is a dual narrative. The chapters alternate between the events leading up to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the grisly details surrounding a series of disappearances and killings in Chicago during the same time period. The details and research put into this book are astounding and it reads more like a novel than a history book. However, the two story lines are also what bothered me the most.

I found myself simply more interested in the chapters about the killings. I like my thrillers, mysteries, and true crime books. The chapters about the events leading up to the fair are interesting, but the excruciating amount of detail about building the fair and the politics that impacted it are just not quite my thing. In my opinion, the two perspectives are so different from one another that they should have been two separate books. The two parts never entwined as much as I thought they would.

Both parts were very interesting. Both parts taught me a lot and covered their respective areas in amazing depth. It was intriguing to see the fair from two different perspectives too. The macro-view of the construction and funding and the micro-view of the community, residents, and victims of the killings gave a very rounded perspective of Chicago at this time. It simply fell a little short for me. Still, a very solid four-star read.

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