Firstly, this is non-fiction. I bought thinking it was fiction! Silly me. Anyway, Larson combined tales of two very passionate men, who toiled (one of them, very surreptitiously) to achieve their ambitions, but both have one objective - to create history.
Burnham was the architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, while Holmes was the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.
In the opening pages, you'll be introduced to them through their words.
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." - Daniel Burnham, Director of Works World's Columbian Exposition, 1893
"I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing." - Dr. H. H. Holmes, Confession, 1896
Thus began the story that has captured a wide readership...(including Leonardo di Caprio, who already bought the film rights in 2010)...except, probably me.
Holmes's story was the page turner. He was such a character! Holmes was like a living dark entity in the real world. A dark entity who had the power to charm and harm. His charisma drew many women into his life - young and old. Once he had charm, he'd harm. He was so malevolent he craved seeing pain in his victims's eyes.
The White City was the nickname for the World's Fair, The World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The central array of buildings were painted white - they were so beautiful that there were stories of people bursting into tears. There were about 200 other buildings in the Fair but the central array that was painted white was why it was called the White City.
The original Ferris Wheel was created at and for the Fair. It was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and became the landmark of the Fair.
Basically that's about it. Lots and lots of information thrown into the pages with really lengthy narration. It got kinda draggy when Larson went into too much detail especially about the work that went into the Fair.
Definitely won't be in my must-read non-fiction book.
My verdict? 2/5 (But those who enjoy architecture might like this book)