The Devil in the White City (published in 2004) won the National Book Award, the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and was a number one national bestseller. I’ve heard rumors that a movie is in the works, and I’m hoping that’s true.
The book centers around two men, Daniel Burnham and Dr. H.H. Holmes.
Burnham is the architect responsible for cleaning up Chicago in the late 1800s. He and his partner, John Root, were well-known Chicago architects who designed the buildings for the 1893 World’s Fair.
Dr. Holmes was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, con artist and serial killer who built a hotel for the World’s Far and was responsible for the disappearances of several hotel guests and other acquaintances before, during and after the Fair.
Devil in the White City weaves together the stories of these two men with relation to the anxiety, grandeur and excitement of the Chicago showcase.
I read the majority of this book on the plane to and from a wedding in Chicago last weekend. The book is completely fascinating. Though nothing else I did in Chicago was literature-related, I hope to return in the future to tour what’s available from past authors who wrote while living there such as Carl Sandburg, Ernest Hemingway, L. Frank Baum, Richard Wright, Harriet Monroe, Edna Ferber, Nelson Algren and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Here are a few pictures from the weekend in the Windy City.
American Gothic Statue on Michigan Avenue