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Erik Larson

Born: January 1, 1954 in Freeport, Long Island, New York
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Erik's book ''The Devil in the White City'' details the lost history of the 1893 Chicago's Wold Fair - an Illinois subject of interest.

Biography: Larson is the author of ''The Devil in the White City'' which spent a number of weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Awards. The book tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction and HH Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a doctor. While the fair ushered in a new era in American history, Holmes marked the emergence of the serial killer. Many reviewers have praised the non-fiction book for its drama and for reading like a mystery thriller. The movie rights to the book have been sold and film production is expected to begin soon. He is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestseller ''Isaac's Storm'', the sotry of a devastating hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900. His other works include, ''Lethal Passage'' and ''The Naked Consumer''. He is a former features writer for ''The Wall Street Journal'' and ''Time'' magazine, where he is still a contributing writer. His work has also appeared in a number of national magazines, including ''Harper's'', ''The New Yorker'' and ''Atlantic Monthly''. Please Note: Since Erik has not lived in Illinois, the only book of his is listed on the Illinois Authors Wiki is ''The Devil in the White City'' as it is the only book of his with an Illinois subject of interest. Please see his webpage to learn more about his other books.

  • -- ''The Devil in the White City'' won the 2004 Edgar Award in the Best Fact Crime category.
  • -- Erik Larson was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinoi

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

The Devil in the White City on Random House Website :
Isaac's Storm on Random House Website :
Erik Larson on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

  The devil in the white city
ISBN: 9780739353011 OCLC: 80728681

Books on Tape, [Santa Ana, Calif.] : 2003.

Investigative reporter Erik Larson unearths the lost history of the 1893 World's Fair and of a madman who grimly parodied the fair's achievements. The White City was a magical creation constructed upon Chicago's swampy Jackson Park by a roster of architectural stars, including Daniel H. Burnham, Frederick Olmstead, and Louis Sullivan. Drawing 27 million visitors in six months, the fair gathered the era's brightest intellectual lights and launched innovations like Juicy Fruit gum, Cracker Jacks, and the Ferris wheel. Nearby, Dr. Henry Holmes built the World's Fair Hotel, a torture palace to which he lured 27 victims, mostly young women. While the fair ushered in a new epoch in American history, Holmes marked the emergence of the serial killer, who thrived on the forces transforming the country.

The devil in the white city :
ISBN: 0375725601 OCLC: 51053561

Crown Publishers, New York : ©2003.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgrounds--a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.