“The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson

(book review)

3 stars. ‘The devil in the white city’ is not the unsurpassed book which you would like to read again.

In general, this book is intriguing, at least, because the author did a titanic work. He reproduced the events that preceded the opening of the Chicago Exhibition, looked through a bunch of books, newspapers, magazines, documents, memoirs, etc. He described the works of Burnham, Olmsted, and their staff in a very careful and scrupulous way. However, it is so boring to read. One stopover after another, one stumbling block after another…Whom he told something, what statement he made, whom he met, who made the order…

The more engaging events that I would like to recommend are in the background. And the background to this is the story of Holmes, a pleasant psychopath who made a very good impression on the public, and at the same time, killed up to two hundred people, according to various sources. The author describes in detail Holmes`s equipment, his castle, in which he fixed up several rooms for torture and taking out his trustful twits.

In spite of everything, this book is astonishingly atrocious from the whole evil that some pleasant person does in it. The crimes committed in it do not contain even the slightest meaningful motivation, except for the insatiable attraction to agony and annihilation. This book is about human life and death in general. As we live, solve problems, strive for better, make mistakes, keep on living, and, at the same time, as we are flouted, tortured, and killed by those whose raison d’être is just kill`m`all. This is their life goal. This is their life credo. Mayhem, blood and hell  around us!

I definitely will not recommend this book for afficionados of detective stories (also because the Ukrainian translation leaves much to be desired). As for the movie it should be really great. As soon as the novel was released, several movie companies immediately began to fight for the rights to film adaptations. First they were received by the studio Warner Bros. It even nominated Tom Cruise for the lead, but the filming was delayed for several times and Paramount Studios outbid the rights at long last. Though, the stalemate was not broken. In 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio bought the rights for the screen adaptation and for seven years gathered a team to work on the film. As a result, Martin Scorsese was appointed as the film director, and DiCaprio  will play Dr. Holmes personally. It is planned that “The Devil in the White City” will be released in 2019.

I hope that the long-suffering movie will be released and I will enjoy it considerably more than the book.

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