DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: Murder, Magic & Madness and the Fair That Changed America

Erik Larson, Author, Tony Goldwyn, Read by
Erik Larson, Author, Tony Goldwyn, Read by , read by Tony Goldwyn. Random House Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-0208-8
Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-0-7366-9230-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2359-5
Prebound-Glued - 447 pages - 978-1-4176-6681-2
Prebound-Other - 447 pages - 978-0-606-34682-5
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-0-7393-4381-4
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-5301-1
Prebound-Glued - 447 pages - 978-1-60686-218-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-0340-5
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4000-4934-9
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-5218-3
Paperback - 464 pages
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4000-7631-4
Paperback - 717 pages - 978-1-59413-624-5
Open Ebook - 496 pages - 978-1-4090-4460-4
Hardcover - 691 pages - 978-1-4104-5576-5
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-0-609-60844-9
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This is a steady performance of a book that, while gripping in its content and crisply paced, isn't quite a gold mine for an audio performer. It relies on journalistic narration and includes almost no quotes, so there isn't much chance for interesting characterization. But it is excellent nonfiction, chronicling the hurly-burly planning and construction of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (which did, as the title suggests, include building what amounted to an entire city) and a cruelly calculating sociopath who used the event's tumult and crowds to serve his homicidal compulsion. Goldwyn is an experienced narrator with a keen dramatic sense, and his resonant voice is well-suited to the project. Music is used only sparingly, but the few subdued, creepy bars Goldwyn reads over in the beginning do an excellent job of creating atmosphere for a tale that is subtle but often genuinely unsettling. Listeners will also be fascinated by descriptions of the sheer logistics of the fair itself, which serve as not only carefully crafted and informative history, but also as welcome breaks from the macabre and relentless contrivances of the killer. In all, it's a polished presentation of an intriguing book that outlines the heights of human imagination and perseverance against the depths of our depravity. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 16, 2002). (Feb.)

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