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Paper Topic:

Devil in the white city

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY

MURDER , MAGIC , AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR THAT CHANGED AMERICA (1893 CHICAGO WORLD 'S FAIR

BY : ERIK LARSON

AUTHOR OF ISAAC 'S STORM (GALVESTON HURRICANE OF 1900

Commentator 's Note : This is well-written historical book . There is little in-depth character development except as the author presents men at work and coping with events . The character of Dr . H . H . Holmes is and always be a mystery since he is a psychopath who enjoys the hunt and the kill . Prendergast is paranoid and admittedly crazy . The

main characters , while presenting opposing views of life , never meet . The author concentrates on alternating major events

Evils Imminent (A Note : Two handsome , blue-eyed men are juxtaposed in by events . One is an architect who built the Flatiron Building in NY and Union Station in Washington , DC . The second is a prolific , urbane serial killer . The events take place mainly in Chicago except when Detective Geyer becomes involved at the end to find the missing Pitezel children . The book is about the evanescence of life and why some men choose to live engaging the impossible and others to manufacture of evil . The story is about events creating a conflict between good and evil , daylight and darkness , the White City and the Black . Black is generally defined as absence of light , being perhaps in a form of Hell (My comment ) There was a brief shining White City built in the middle of otherwise black Chicago that made the city clean itself for the event . One might also contrast black against white as Caucasian vs . African American , since by then Chicago would have had a large migration of African Americans from the South . The designers of the Fair were Caucasian , as were the laborers . This is the early days of the union movement by Gompers and Debs . There are also major economic problems in these years , with bank failures , businesses and railroads closing . This creates an underlying theme that money is power

Themes : Battle between good and evil rags to riches overcoming adversity at great odds working together to create beauty contrast between the white city and the devils ' loose in the city - Prendergast (assassinates mayor ) and Holmes (devil ) - and the black rest of the city (dirty , filthy , rats , racist , large criminal element unemployment creativity under adversity (large number of impressive inventions , including Ferris Wheel , emerge from this Fair nature of evil - Holmes diagnosed as psychopath because of conscience and rampant killings for his own pleasure killed is unknown

Quote from Dr . H . H . Holmes in his Confession , 1896 : 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

Prologue : Architect Daniel Burnham and wife , Margaret , sail to Europe with their daughter and her husband on the Olympic . Burham sends a telegram to his friend Frank Millett on the Titanic . Millett was Burnham 's ally in building the Chicago World...

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