The Devil in the White City Book Test
Choose EIGHT questions and answer them as best you can in 6-8 sentence using evidence and examples from the book. 1. Explain why American cities were vying to house the World’s Fair in 1893. What motives drove Chicago to build the Fair? 2. Who was H.H. Holmes and what was his role in the Chicago World’s Fair? Discuss his personality and background. 3. Who was Daniel Burnham and what was his role in the Chicago World’s Fair? Discuss his personality and background. 4. Discuss the White City. What could visitors from around the world see, feel, taste, and touch when they arrived at the World’s Fair? 5. What impact did the World’s Fair have on America? What lasting inventions and ideas were introduced? What important American figures attribute their successes to inspiration from the fair? 6. Discuss some of the struggles faced by the architects, designers, and builders of the World’s Fair. What made building the Columbian Exposition so difficult? 7. How did Chicago attempt to “out-Eiffel Eiffel?” Did it work? Why or why not? Explain. Were visitors impressed by this attempt? 8. How does Erik Larson describe urban life in America in the late 1800s? What drew urban residents to cities and what realities did they face upon arrival? 9. Discuss Frederick Law Olmstead. What role did he have in helping to create the World’s Fair? What work had he done before Chicago in 1893? 10. Why did Erik Larson chose to tell Burnham and Holmes’ stories together? How did the juxtaposition affect the narrative? Do you think they worked well together? Explain your answer. 11. How was Holmes able to get away with so many murders without becoming suspect? What ultimately led to Holmes’ capture and the discovery of his crimes? 12. What was Larson’s central thesis? What point was he trying to make in writing the book? Do you think he was successful? Why or why not?


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