The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson.Read about the other books on the list.
This is a nightmarish, enthralling account of actual events surrounding the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. In his trademark journalistic style, Larson deftly intertwines multiple perspectives, focusing chiefly on Daniel H. Burnham, the mastermind of the Great Columbian Exhibition—dubbed “The White City” for its dazzling nighttime glow—and Dr. H.H. Holmes, whose thoughtfully constructed hotel lured a ghastly number of people (primarily single women) to their untimely deaths in the basement torture chambers. While visiting a “Murder Castle” may not be on your bucket list, this trip into two brilliant minds—one focused on reshaping America’s perception of Chicago, and reinforcing Fair attendees’ belief in magic, the other cunning and diabolical—is the nonfiction trip of a lifetime.
The Devil in the White City is one of Randy Dotinga's five favorite historical true-crime books from the last decade.