Summarize the plot of the book you read:
The Devil in the White City is a historical nonfiction about the growth and industrial changes through the Gilded era, as well as the other plotline that is about the notorious serial killer known as H.H Holmes. Both stories going on at the same time. The time took place between 1890-1895. This is surrounding the building of 1893 Chicago’s World Fair also known as The World’s Columbian Exposition. It was decided that Chicago would be where it was held as they had won the bid in 1890 for the Worlds Exposition. It was to commemorate the landing of Columbus in America. The story introduces the main architects of the story a Mr. Daniel Burnham and his partner John Root. In the story it goes over Mr. Burnham’s struggles he overcomes in order to make his endeavors a success. Throughout the story, Daniel Burnham must undergo many hurdles that threaten the successfulness of the completion of “The World’s Fair” this includes late arriving building pieces, union strikes, building accidents/injuries, and the death of his partner John Root who oversaw the design of “The World’s Fair” Despite all the obstacles, they were able to complete the task and were able to outdo the Eiffel tower with the Ferris wheel. Regrettably, the closing of the fair brings misfortune, as the mayor at the time in Chicago, Carter Henry Harrison, was murdered.
As the building of “The World’s Fair” is going on another plot unravels with a man named H.H Holmes. He travels to Chicago for work in 1866 as Pharmacist/Doctor. He vindictively obtains a pharmacy that is very close to the future site of “The World’s Fair” located in Jackson Park. Then he decides to buy the lot across the way from the pharmacy. The construction of this this elaborate house is so elaborate and strange it reminds me in some ways of the house built for the wife of the famous gun owner Sarah Winchester. She built a 160-room mansion in San Jose, California believed that she had to keep building to keep the Spirits killed by the rifle at bay. She started building it 1884. It took 36 years to build. Holmes request for such an elaborate home was of course, unbeknownst to society to practice his killing people and discarding their bodies. The first part of the building the first floor, served as his pharmacy and a retail shop for some of Holmes unsavory and illegal activities. The top two floors of his building were apartments for rent with secret passages, hallways and a chute that led to the basement of the building to make getting rid of bodies easier. In addition to the chute that was built for the basement, he also had a kiln made to assist with the disposals. When Jackson park announced the building of the fair, Holmes decides to then turn the apartments into a hotel. He called it “The World’s Fair Hotel”. While Holmes lived in Chicago, he got engaged with many women. He would marry a few, kill many that he came into direct contact with, he over time had acquired much debt and never truly planned on paying any of it back and committed several acts of fraud. Due to his illegal activities and fear of being caught, Holmes travels around until he is caught and incarcerated for insurance fraud. A Detective named Frank Geyer investigates Holmes past and uncovers the gruesome murders of: Julia Connor, her daughter Pearl Connor, Emiline Cigard, Minnie Williams, Anna Williams, Benjamin Pietza his son Howard Pietzal, daughter Nellie Pietzal, and daughter Alice Pietzal. They believe Holmes more than likely killed more people, but they didn’t have the proof.
In closing the World’s Fair was a magnificent event that truly encompassed the Gilded eras architecture, growth in technology, market growth and infrastructure of a new society. The fairs greatest impact lay in how it changed the way Americans perceived their cities and architecture. Once the fair was over hundreds of people were to have said to have gone missing. Although they never discovered if H.H Holmes, murdered more than the 9 listed above he is known to be Americas first well-known serial killer. He was called “The Beast of Chicago”. Once Homes was incarcerated and tried for the Pietzal murders 3 children and their father he was sentenced to death by hanging on May 7th, 1896. Even in death H.H Holmes had a very last peculiar request, he asked to be buried 10 feet underground with his casket filled with concrete. Spectators say that he never wanted the public to know what was truly going on in his mind.
2. What do you think are the advantages of learning history through historical fiction, or movies, or various forms of media? Explain your answer.
The advantages are that it brings the material to life and therefore creates an understanding of what the times were really like.
3: What are the disadvantages of learning history this way? Explain your answer.
The disadvantages are that sometimes authors, producers, and reporters will take creative liberties that are not always historically correct thus creating an illusion instead of what really transpired during that time.
4: If someone were to only read the book you chose in order to learn about those historical events, how good would their historical knowledge about this subject be?
Probably not very good because I believe it takes lots of learning and study to truly have an understanding of what happened historically. There are so many different points of view expressed in even primary sources that it requires careful study to develop understanding of the various times in history.