And yeah, there was a serial killer. Maybe I've read too many Koontz novels, or watched one too many episodes of Criminal Minds, but I didn't find the story of Mudgett (aka Holmes,) to be a very driving portion of this reading. I can't help but wonder if the story of Chicago's Exposition was the real passion for Erik Larson, and the story of the serial killer was the aside that made his book sell well. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting, but in some areas I found myself skimming the descriptions of a charming psychopath working his game, in favor of getting back to the real story of the race to build the White City.
The White City portion of this book was, by far, the more interesting part of the story. Chicago, just before the turn of the century, was still a filthy, sometimes primitive city, just beginning to claw its way to modernity. The story of the 1893 Worlds Fair was an incredible story of overcoming insurmountable odds to create a dream. The economy of the entire country was in freefall, yet architects and city planners created this incredible exposition out of virtually nothing. Many firsts occurred here, and developments of this Fair had lasting impact on modern life (including being the reason we mostly use AC- alternating current, instead of DC- direct current.)