I finally read Erik Larson's much praised nonfiction work, The Devil in the White City. I've read nothing but praise for this book and dived right in; however, the beginning 35 pages or so were slow moving for me. It may be in part because it's nonfiction and there's a foundation of people, places, and the time period to introduce and explain, but after I was able to keep it all straight, it moved along much better.
I enjoyed the play by play of the World's Fair being designed and built. I can't say I felt all the awe that I'm sure was present those months, but that's more because many things that were new and amazing during the fair's time (approx 1892-1893) are common place in our day. I won't spoil it by saying what those things are, because that was actually my favorite part of the book. Larson will talk up various people who have new ideas (for products, songs, etc) and voila, you find out the idea is something we all know so well now, but was a crazy new invention at that time. Learning the origin of so many historical/cultural things tied to the Chicago World's Fair was my favorite part.
The other part to the story - the Devil part - was done tastefully. You had the details to understand how Holmes worked the people around him, but it wasn't over-the-top. I mean, it was still sad and you could imagine the scenarios, but for me there wasn't a whole bunch of yucky details to make it worse. My imagination will limit itself unless given visuals or too much detail, so it was good for me.
The one thing I think Larson really should've included we're pictures of the fair - the building of and the end results. Pictures from a time period we can only imagine would have been priceless in this book.
So for me, definitely a TBR book, but not necessarily number one on the list. Although I hear there is a movie in the making, with DiCaprio as Holmes possibly. I think this book would make a great movie. If you've read it, what did you like about the book?