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Old 03-16-2017, 03:18 PM
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Default TTBC March 2017 - The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

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Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The book is set in Chicago in 1893, intertwining the true tales of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, the serial killer who lured his victims to their deaths in his elaborately constructed "Murder Castle."
To help you get in the mood for the book may I suggest this episode about the Murder Castle on one of my favorite podcasts, Lore

I'm looking forward to reading y'alls reactions and thoughts about this book!
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:41 AM
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I guess I should read this since I suggested it?
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:26 AM
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I read this book a few years ago and it was so much more than I thought it would be! It's not just a dry historical retelling of this, there's so many scenes that are straight out of a horror novel. The (don't read this until you're far in the book or already know the story) residue left by the woman's bare foot from trying to kick the door down was chilling.

And the World's Fair details which should be honestly so boring are really cool as well. I hadn't realized how challenging the geology of the area was.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:14 AM
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I guess I should read this since I suggested it?
Yes.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:17 AM
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I'm finishing a book now but I'll start next week.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:36 AM
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This is one of my favorites! Like VV said, a lot of the details really stick with you and are haunting.
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:18 PM
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I recalled having a copy, had a minor in-apartment archaeological dig, and found it. I'm in!
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:55 AM
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I started this today and I've only read the first few chapters, so the meat of the story have only been hinted at. Still, the early stuff about Chicago's development and selection to host the fair has been an interesting read. Larson's a good writer.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
I started this today and I've only read the first few chapters, so the meat of the story have only been hinted at. Still, the early stuff about Chicago's development and selection to host the fair has been an interesting read. Larson's a good writer.
Yeah! Both of the subjects of the book are ones that normally wouldn't interest me. But Larson's writing and storytelling make the boring and the macabre more compelling to me.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:37 AM
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I read this in 2012 and it renewed my interest in world's fairs. I live in Orlando and you can trace the Disney park lineage straight back to world's fairs, specifically Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. I also eventually visited Flushing Meadows in Queens.

After reading Devil, I reread Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, which has a flashback to the same Columbian Exposition.

The most coincidental tie-in event: shortly after reading Devil, while visiting the Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL (just up I-4 from Disney) on July 4th Free Admission Day, I came across the Louis Comfort Tiffany chapel totally by surprise. So if you're ever headed to Disney, you could just swing by and see this, too!
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:48 AM
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There's actually a reference in the book to Walt Disney hearing about the fair from his father, so the connection isn't surprising.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:52 AM
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Since "it's a small world" is literally a ride from the '64 World's Fair, the general connection isn't a surprise to any Disney park veteran. I was surprised it went all the way back to 1893.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:56 PM
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I finished this today. Some of the details of Holmes' exploits were indeed chilling, but the lack of details (man, they really didn't understand guys like this back then) and hands-off nature of his killings made it less grisly than you might expect. And the fair story had its own little tragic ending, even ignoring how many of the prominent figures involved in its construction ended up living fairly short lives for unrelated reasons. I'm not surprised Leo is trying to get Scorsese to film this.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:23 PM
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Actually, it's in the works, but not for another two years I think I read because of other projects Scorcese is involved with
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:49 PM
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Yeah I saw that, but a lot of times movies are "in the works", and then they don't happen.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
I finished this today. Some of the details of Holmes' exploits were indeed chilling, but the lack of details (man, they really didn't understand guys like this back then) and hands-off nature of his killings made it less grisly than you might expect. And the fair story had its own little tragic ending, even ignoring how many of the prominent figures involved in its construction ended up living fairly short lives for unrelated reasons. I'm not surprised Leo is trying to get Scorsese to film this.
There are a couple of Sullivan's "jewel box" banks here in the midwest and it's been extra interesting going to one after reading the book.

I think I've said this before, but at first I found the fair part of the book to be much less interesting, but by the end I found it to be much more fascinating than what Holmes was up to.

Also, how easy was it to scam folks back then? Like buying a bunch of furniture on installments and then when they come to collect saying "Nah. Someone else ordered them. He's gone now". Sooooo easy!

Alllso also, Larson's description of Chicago as a stinking slaughterhouse was a pretty eye opening reminder of how rough life was back in the day.
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