220px-DWCityAre you bored by non­fic­tion?  Yes?  Well, The Dev­il in the White City will change your mind about non­fic­tion. Seri­ous­ly, I read one of Erik Larson’s books and was ready to ven­ture to the Smith­so­ni­an in D.C. for a book sign­ing (but I didn’t because tick­ets sold out in five minutes…bummer…).

For some rea­son, read­ing about seri­al killers has always been great fun for me.  I start­ed read­ing about the essen­tial seri­al killers: Jack the Rip­per, Char­lie Man­son, etc.  How­ev­er, this book isn’t just about seri­al killer, mad­man, and gen­er­al scam­mer H.H. Holmes; it’s also about the head archi­tect respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1800’s.

H.H. Holmes creeps me out more than most seri­al killers.  Yes, Char­lie Man­son got peo­ple to kill for him and Jack the Rip­per had that whole carv­ing up lady bits thing going for him, but H.H. Holmes built a maze-like MURDER MANSION!  He was a true vul­ture, pick­ing out young and naïve wom­en new to the city to tempt and trap in his crazy mur­der man­sion.

I have a much deep­er respect and admi­ra­tion for archi­tects after read­ing this book.  After all, the World’s Fair was a mar­vel of con­struc­tion.  I doubt the qual­i­ty and beau­ty (there are pic­tures in the book…I know you wan­na know!)  of the Chicago World’s Fair could be echoed today.  I’m kind of sad that they decon­struct­ed it instead of try­ing to main­tain it, but when they shut it down home­less peo­ple began liv­ing there and the White City was no more (Inter­est­ing tid­bit: many of the peo­ple who helped build the so-called White City were unem­ployed when they fin­ished con­struc­tion, thus many of the for­mer work­ers began liv­ing there).

So, what do you think?