Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bike and The Devil in the White City

I just finished reading, with an MMU faculty/staff group, Erik Larson's excellent nonfiction book "The Devil in the White City."

I note that a movie is in the works. I hope they don't mess it up too much.

Anyway, the book is the parallel story of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and a serial killer who built a hotel to lure young ladies for murder. It's both gripping and gruesome.

And bike friendly. At the time, cars weren't around yet, and the transportation in the book is via horse, train, streetcar or "safety bicycle," as the newly invented bike without the huge front wheel was known.

The fair featured the world's first Ferris wheel, a huge contraption rising hundreds of feet with rail-road car sized enclosed gondolas.

Whew. Wish I had been there, in some ways, although, honestly, the book also makes you appreciate modern foods, medical care and sanitary water supplies.

In the book, Chicago is known as the "windy city" not due to it's climate--but due to the bombast of its promoters.

Well, it's a great read. Even if the killer is among the bikers.

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