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H.H.HOLMES: The True History of the White City Devil
Skyhorse * April 2017 * 400 pages
In 2017/18 Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will bring Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City to life on film. DiCaprio will play H.H. Holmes, who murdered between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, against the backdrop of the glittering 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. For this reason, and because there has ever been a particularly accurate book on Holmes, H.H. HOLMES: The True History of the White City Devil is delectable and timely true crime.
The books about Holmes published to date have relied heavily on pulp re-tellings of his story from the 1940s. H.H. HOLMES: The True History of the White City Devil is exhaustively researched and painstakingly reconstructed; Selzer accessed hundreds of primary sources that have never been examined before, including legal documents, letters, articles, and records buried in archives for over a century. His deep analysis makes clear how much of the story as we know it came from reporters who were nowhere near the action, a dangerously unqualified new police chief, and, not least, from lies invented by the madman Holmes himself.
Selzer packs H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil with tons of stunning new data about Holmes, his background, his era, and the wild cast of characters who circulated in and about the famous “castle’ building.
Adam Selzer is the host of the Mysterious Chicago blog, podcasts, and tours, and has spent many years researching the more gruesome side of Chicago history—criminals, ghost stories, gangsters, mysteries, and folklore. He regularly writes Chicago history stories for websites such as TimeOut.com and Atlas Obscura, and speaks about it on WGN radio.
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