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Although the horrifying facts of H.H. Holmes’s story may be what readers remember, The Devil in the White City is a book about two men, Holmes and Daniel H. Burnham, the architect of the world’s fair. as a matter of fact, Larson dedicates most of the book to the organization, construction and influence of the fair under Burnham’s direction.
But, if the White City represented Chicago at its best, the awful killing spree of H.H. Holmes surely distinguished the city’s darkest side. His mansion, which Holmes ran as a hotel during the fair, was a real house of horrors. Young women, drawn to Chicago by the fair and the hope of jobs, came to stay at his “hotel”, and were never seen again. Larson recognizes at least nine of the victims, but Holmes bragged that he had murdered at least 27 people in his lifetime.

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