Nov 14, 2020 in History

Eric Larson
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Book Analysis

The book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Eric Larson is a narrative that combines features of history and thriller. It means that the author manages to combine uncombined genres and events to show that the American society is full of unexpected moments. Moreover, this novel provokes contrasting emotions and feelings as it underlines the parallel between art, beauty, and crime and main characters express a horrifying dark side and magical appeal of the 19th century Chicago. Consequently, the book by Eric Larson is the novel that depicts the reality of Chicago and its diverse environment that can inspire for the art, construction, and crime at the same time.

 

The book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Eric Larson is an objective vision of the real world that cannot always be the same. Thus, readers can be shocked with murders of young women and excited with the sophisticated architecture. It is evident that the reality is not full only of pleasant moments and beautiful pictures of attractive buildings. Consequently, dreadful and dark scenes with Henry Holmes terrify, but also give an opportunity to realize that the American society is a place that encourages and inspires people for different actions and behaviors.

The most shocking character is Henry Holmes who is a charismatic young doctor and a titular devil with blood-curdling obsessions. It means that Chicago of the 19th century was not the period of growth of architecture and culture, as well as birth of prominent people. It was also the time of murders and blood actions of those whose reputation was the spot on all achievements of the American community. Chicago was known as a hog-slaughterer and such architects as Daniel Burnham wanted to refine Chicagos image with the help of architecture (Larson 95). It is evident that Chicago could be like New York or Paris. However, its reputation was compromised by the criminal side.

 
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The book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Eric Larson has many functions. Firstly, it entertains readers as it gets them acquainted with cultural values of Chicago. Thus, readers have an opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of this city and feel like a part of it. Secondly, the author informs readers about reasons why Chicago cannot be at the same level with Paris and New York. Chicagos World Fair can serve simultaneously as the background for inspiration and commitment of crimes. Finally, the strength of this book consists in the wealth of information it provides readers with. It is fiction and non-fiction at the same time as it is related to city planning, architecture, and murders. Thus, Eric Larson combines the opposite things. Moreover, it is great that the author has chosen Chicagos World Fair for the depiction as it is a valuable period in the American history (Larson 90).

In conclusion, one should say that The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Eric Larson is a new vision of life in metropolitan cities. It is the perception of architecture and city planning, while emphasizing the inevitability of crimes that can ruin any harmony. It means that every sightseeing place like Chicagos World Fair hides cruelty behind its magnificence. Eric Larson depicts his attitude to Chicagos life, explaining that every medal has two sides: white and black. In this book, architecture and city planning are the aspects that can glorify Chicago. In turn, murders and criminal past of Chicago put the shade on the city and its reputation.

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