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The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City

Overview
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Crown Publishers
Crown Publishing Group
-External links:*...

, ISBN 0609608444) is a 2003
2003 in literature
The year 2003 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:*Peter Ackroyd - The Clerkenwell Tales*Atsuko Asano - No...

 non-fiction
Non-fiction
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

 book by Erik Larson presented in a novelistic
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 style. The book is based on real characters and events. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor and film producer. He has received many awards, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Aviator , and has been nominated by the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television...

 purchased the film rights in 2010.

The book is set in Chicago circa 1893, intertwining the true tales of Daniel H. Burnham
Daniel Burnham
Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA was an American architect and urban planner. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington DC...

, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

, and Dr.
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Encyclopedia
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Crown Publishers
Crown Publishing Group
-External links:*...

, ISBN 0609608444) is a 2003
2003 in literature
The year 2003 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:*Peter Ackroyd - The Clerkenwell Tales*Atsuko Asano - No...

 non-fiction
Non-fiction
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

 book by Erik Larson presented in a novelistic
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 style. The book is based on real characters and events. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor and film producer. He has received many awards, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Aviator , and has been nominated by the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television...

 purchased the film rights in 2010.

The book is set in Chicago circa 1893, intertwining the true tales of Daniel H. Burnham
Daniel Burnham
Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA was an American architect and urban planner. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington DC...

, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

, and Dr. H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who lured his victims to their death in his elaborately constructed "Murder Castle".

Burnham and the architects

  • Daniel Burnham
    Daniel Burnham
    Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA was an American architect and urban planner. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington DC...

    : the chief architect
    Architect
    An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

     behind the World's Columbian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World's Fair)
  • John Root
    John Wellborn Root
    John Wellborn Root was an American architect who worked out of Chicago with Daniel Burnham. He was one of the founders of the Chicago School style...

    : co-architect with Burnham
  • George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.
    George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.
    George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was an American engineer. He is most famous for creating the original Ferris Wheel for the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition.-Early life:...

    : creator of the Ferris wheel
    Ferris wheel
    A Ferris wheel is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, the cars are kept upright, usually by gravity.Some of the largest and most modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on...

  • Frank Millet
    Francis Davis Millet
    Francis Davis Millet was an American painter, sculptor, and writer who died in the sinking of the on April 15, 1912.-Early life:Francis Davis Millet was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts...

  • Louis Sullivan
    Louis Sullivan
    Louis Henri Sullivan was an American architect, and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism" He is considered by many as the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an...

  • Richard Morris Hunt
    Richard Morris Hunt
    Richard Morris Hunt was an American architect of the nineteenth century and a preeminent figure in the history of American architecture...

  • Charles McKim
    Charles Follen McKim
    Charles Follen McKim FAIA was an American Beaux-Arts architect of the late 19th century. Along with Stanford White, he provided the architectural expertise as a member of the partnership McKim, Mead, and White....

  • Frederick Law Olmsted
    Frederick Law Olmsted
    Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

    : landscape architect
    Landscape architect
    A landscape architect is a person involved in the planning, design and sometimes direction of a landscape, garden, or distinct space. The professional practice is known as landscape architecture....

     in charge of the World's Fair landscape (who also designed New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    's Central Park
    Central Park
    Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

    )
  • George B. Post
    George B. Post
    George Browne Post was an American architect trained in the Beaux-Arts tradition.-Biography:Post was a student of Richard Morris Hunt , but unlike many architects of his generation, he had previously received a degree in civil engineering...


Holmes and associates


  • Herman Webster Mudgett (aka Dr. H. H. Holmes
    H. H. Holmes
    Herman Webster Mudgett , better known under the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term...

    ): a serial killer
    Serial killer
    A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

     who used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. Dr. Holmes had built his "World's Fair Hotel" complete with a gas chamber
    Gas chamber
    A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

    , dissection table, and a crematorium
    Cremation
    Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

     to dispose of the bodies. Holmes would remove the skeleton
    Skeleton
    The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism. There are two different skeletal types: the exoskeleton, which is the stable outer shell of an organism, and the endoskeleton, which forms the support structure inside the body.In a figurative sense, skeleton can...

    s of his victims and sell them for medical and scientific study.
  • Clara A. Lovering: Holmes's first wife
  • Myrta Z. Belknap: Holmes's second wife
  • Lucy Holmes: Holmes's daughter with Myrta
  • Georgiana Yoke: Holmes's third wife
  • Julia Smythe: employee and lover of Holmes; wife of Ned Connor
  • Ned Connor: employee of Holmes; husband of Julia Smythe
  • Benjamin Pitezel: business associate (and murder victim) of Holmes
  • Howard Pitezel: son of Benjamin Pitezel, kidnapped
    Kidnapping
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

     and murdered by Holmes
  • Frank Geyer: detective in charge of finding Pitezel's children after Holmes was jailed for fraud
    Fraud
    In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

  • Thomas W. Barlow: assistant district attorney who prosecuted
    Prosecutor
    The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system...

     Holmes

Other figures

  • Mayor
    Mayor
    In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

     Carter Harrison, Sr.
    Carter Harrison, Sr.
    Carter Henry Harrison, Sr. was an American politician who served as mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1879 until 1887; he was subsequently elected to a fifth term in 1893 but was assassinated before completing his term. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives...

    : Mayor of Chicago who was assassinated
    Assassination
    To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

     on the last day of the fair.
  • Patrick Prendergast
    Patrick Eugene Prendergast
    Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast was the assassin of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr.-Background:Prendergast was born in Ireland. His grandfather was reported to have died insane while his mother had "repeated attacks of hysterics" and his father died of consumption...

    : assassin who killed Mayor Harrison over his delusional belief that he helped Harrison win re-election.

Film Adaptation


Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the film rights to the novel in late-2010, and is set to play Holmes. Kathryn Bigelow is attached to the project and will both produce and helm.

Honors

  • 2003 New York Times bestseller (Nonfiction)
  • 2003 International Horror Guild Award
    International Horror Guild Award
    The International Horror Guild Award is a recognition presented by the International Horror Guild to recognize the achievements of those who create in the field of horror and dark fantasy. Nancy A. Collins, the founder of the award, felt there was a need for an award granted by a large,...

     (Nonfiction)
  • 2003 San Francisco Chronicle
    San Francisco Chronicle
    thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

    Best Book of the Year
  • 2003 National Book Award
    National Book Award
    The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

     (Nonfiction), finalist
  • 2003 CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction
    CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction
    The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction is a British literary award established in 1978 by the Crime Writers' Association, who have awarded the Gold Dagger fiction award since 1955....

    , shortlist
  • 2003 Great Lakes Book Award (Nonfiction), finalist
  • 2004 Washington State Book Award
    Washington State Book Award
    The Washington State Book Awards are presented annually in recognition of notable books written by Washington authors in the previous year.This literary awards program was established in 1967 as the Governor's Writers Awards. The program was based at the Washington State Library in Olympia...

  • 2004 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award
    Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award
    Since 1965, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, or PNBA, has presented annual awards to recognize excellence in writing from the American Pacific Northwest...

  • 2004 Edgar Award
    Edgar Award
    The Edgar Allan Poe Awards , named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America...

     (Best Fact Crime), winner
  • 2004 Book Sense
    Book Sense
    Book Sense was a marketing and branding program of the American Booksellers Association, in which many independent bookstores across North America participated in order to better compete with the large book chains. Bookstores participating in the Book Sense program were expected to display the Book...

     Book of the Year Honor Book, winner
  • 2009 ALA Outstanding Books for the College Bound (History & Cultures)

External links