I wrote this report on the book the devil in the white city, it was a good book and I hope you enjoy my report.
World History Quarter Book Project
Title of Book: Devil in the White CIty
Genre of Literature (historical fiction or non-fiction): historical fiction
Author: Erik Larson
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Copyright Date: 2004
Number of pages (150-page minimum): 1014
Setting(s): Chicago in 1891, during the Chicago World’s Fair
Main Characters – Name and give a brief description of 3-5:
H.H. Holmes: A charming man he was a doctor. Involved in many different scams. And was known as one of America’s first serial killers. He was married several times and is the devil they refer to in the title.
Daniel Burnham: One of the head Architects in charge of building the world’s fair, he contributed a lot to it. He and John Root had a firm together where they started out building houses. Before their firm began to grow a lot eventually being named to build it. He was very nice and charismatic as well.
John Root: A clever and composed man he was great at charming others and took a very logical approach to everything. He was the better artist out of Burnham and him, but he was one of the head architects.
In about 100 words, provide a brief summary of the plot of the book. Include the time period in which it takes place.
The book takes place in the 1890’s in Chicago and it follows two main characters, the murderer H.H. Holmes, and the architect Daniel Burnham. H.H. Holmes developed many great scams to keep himself afloat and scammed a lot of his in laws. He ran a great pharmacy and then scammed the owners until it was finally his. He then build a grand hotel often known as the murder castle. He tried to kill many people here and succeeded in killing most of them. Then, there was Burnham he was the head architect and aspired to be just that. His partner Root and him built it from the ground up. They always wanted to be the biggest firm and building the fair was their chance. They eventually finished building it and they were huge successes, while Holmes was a convicted murderer.
From whose point of view is the book told? How does this influence the story?
It goes back and forth between Burnhams and Holmes point of view, it keeps you alert and the promise that you will get action from Holmes side of view helps drag through any boring parts of the book. THe fact that we follow a convicted murderer also adds the feel of a dramatic book which makes it a lot easier to read.
What is the most important event in the book? Why is it the most important? When does this event take place in the book (page numbers)?
I think that the most important event happens on page 144 when Burnham and Root are made the heads of the building of the fair. This is the most important because it puts the rest of the book into place as with this power they created a masterpiece. And that this event really moved ahead Root and Burnham’s character development as that deal with the stresses of the pressure.
Choose one character – Give a more detailed description of their role in the book, and then compare them to someone you know personally today. Use two quotes from the book to help illustrate your description – cite page numbers where the quotes are found.
H.H. Holmes he is a terrible yet quite intriguing man, he is so overcome with evil that it sucks you in. In my opinion he is the best part of the book and helps keep readers in. He is a doctor and a pharmacist. He leads a double life though, scamming people, even his own family, while killing people. I would compare his personality disregarding the fact that he is a murderer so someone like Noah Schadael, someone who is confident in their own ability and break rules, yet people almost love him for it.
“He entered a world of clamor, smoke, and steam… He found it to his liking.” This shows his character as it shows that he enjoys chaos and thrives on it. As it drives him.
“Belknap realized why Holmes had wanted so badly to show him the building’s roof.” This shows Holme’s as he does stuff like this throughout the book using hospitality to try and trick people so that he can kill them or impersonate them to get exactly what he wants.
Use two quotes from the book to show new things you have learned about this time period in history. Explain what each quote helped you to better know or understand – cite page numbers.
“It lasted just six months, yet during that time it’s gatekeepers recorded 27.5 million visits, this when the country’s total population was 65 million.” This shows how the country felt about this, they wanted to prove that we are the best and it is this sense of nationalism that made america what it is today. People were very patriotic then. Pg. 20
“He had great if misplaced, faith in the automobile.” Pg. 820. This quote showed how excited America was after the fair and what they thought we could do. They believed we would be the best, but then the great depression hit a while after.
How might our world be different today if the historical events in your book had turned out differently? Use two different examples to explain your answer.
If Burnham hadn’t pulled through then America would be almost a laughing stock of the rest of the world. And Burnham and Roots careers would have been ruined and they would be colossally embarrassed. As well as people not thinking of america in the same light as they did, we would be more of an underdog.
What are three life lessons that can be learned from this book – how does each apply to your life?
You can learn perseverance from the fact that Burnham never gives up and keeps pushing forward ultimately to be rewarded. As Well as the fact that he got his own sense of honor as he put in the work and eventually made something great.
You can learn to be careful and to not be as trusting and learn this from how many people H.H. Holmes killed and the matter in which he tricked them.
And lastly you can learn to always take the leap to try and make something great of yourself because the worst that can happen is you fail, and then try again.
If you were to give this book an alternate title, what would it be? Explain why.
Lurking in the Shadows, as this is a book about a great time in history where america pulled together and made a great event, but behind this there was H.H. Holmes, lurking in the shadows ready to kill people as he is a great evil.
Explain in about 50 words why you would or would not recommend this book to your classmates.
I would recommend this book to people like Addi who enjoy a long book that sucks you in while sometimes not being very interesting. But I would not recommend it to Noah as they would not want to read the full book as it is really long and drags on at some point.