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review 2017-03-15 00:00
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - Erik Larson Extremely well written and researched, unsettling, entertaining, educational and fascinating are all words that come to mind on finishing Eric Larson's book [b:The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America|21996|The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1312066724s/21996.jpg|3486041]

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was a remarkable achievement for the city of Chicago and it's architect Daniel H. Burnham and while the city was celebrating and enjoying this new wonder of the world, another man by the name of H.H. Holmes, a handsome and charming doctor was luring victims to their deaths and becoming America's first Serial Killer. This is the incredible true account of two very different men and the different paths their lives would lead them.

This is my second Book by Eric Larson having read and loved [b:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|22551730|Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1408923747s/22551730.jpg|42009388] previously I was looking forward to another book by this author. His books are extremely well researched and very detailed and he leaves no stone unturned when telling a story.

I loved learning about the Fair and the magnificent buildings, The World's first Ferris Wheel, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, electric boats, all the different elements that went into planning and organising such an amazing event. I loved how this book crossed over with numerous other books I had read about this time, (especially the quote from the notorious Chicago May who was born in Ireland only a few miles from my home and ended up becoming one of Chicago's most notorious Crooks of that time) I enjoyed the descriptions of families travelling long distances to the fair from small farms and towns and their amazement at witnessing these spectacular attractions and miracle of electricity for the first time. Eric Larson's descriptions are vivid and captivating and you actually imagine you are there at the centre of the city's excitement. Of course then you are brought back to reality with the murder and mayhem created by H.H Holmes and wonder how a man like this could have murdered so many innocent people and nobody noticed or suspected him.

A word of warning The Devil is in the detail and Eric Larson book's are high on detail and facts which I loved but some may find a tad tedious as the story does drag slightly in places but the historical information and descriptions are excellent and I loved every minute spent with this book.
I listened to this one on audio and the narration was excellent.
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review 2017-02-10 14:33
Wherein I discuss my totally rational fears + reminisce on blog beginnings
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson

Today I'm going to tell you about Deep Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania aka reason #5022 why I will never go on a cruise. I have an odd fascination with shipwrecks but also a deep, crushing fear of them. I cannot deal with images of sunken ships, statues, or really anything submerged under the water and nestled at the bottom of the ocean floor (you can also substitute ocean with sea, lake, or deep pool). Here is also where I confess that I am woefully ignorant about World War I. I always struggle to remember who was fighting in the war and what it was really about (I think this is still being puzzled over in some places). As far as the Lusitania, the only thing I knew was that it was a large passenger ship that had sunk (filling me with terror like the sinking of the Titanic and the film Poseidon with Kurt Russell). So I went into this book pretty much as a blank slate and by 30 pages in I was already spouting facts about it to my coworkers (who may never go on a cruise either). Like with all of Larson's works, he focuses on a major topic while interweaving storylines that occur parallel to the main event. For example, this book is about the Lusitania and its final voyage but in order to put that into context Larson had to discuss WWI and President Woodrow Wilson's state of mind in regards to the neutrality of the United States in that war (Wilson was one passionate dude, ya'll.). So not only did I learn about the machinations of the leading world powers of the early 20th century (Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S.A.) but I also got a glimpse into President Wilson's personal life, learned how submarines operate, and discovered that people really liked to smoke in 1915.

 

PS As mentioned in other posts, I love reading the end notes of nonfiction books because there are always fantastic little tidbits there that just didn't fit in the overall narrative of the book. Dead Wake was no exception. It led me to The Lusitania Resource which is a website dedicated to uncovering all of the facts of the sinking of the ship including primary documents, articles concerning the controversy of its significance to WWI, and much more. I highly recommend you check it out if nothing else than to whet your appetite for Larson's book. (Yes, I know that it's insane for me to be obsessed with this site after referencing my very real fears of traveling on a cruise ship but I like to have all of my facts ready for those trying to change my mind. It's perfectly normal.)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2016-12-27 17:30
Top 10 Reads of 2016
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - Eric Metaxas
Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors - Conn Iggulden
The Heretic - Henry Vyner-Brooks
How To Be A Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life - Ruth Goodman
The Colour of Poison: A Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery (Volume 1) - Toni Mount
The Imp of Eye (Renaissance Sojourner Series Book 1) - Kristin Gleeson,Moonyeen Blakey
A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny
Scythe - Neal Shusterman
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys

I may have rated a few other books just as highly as these, but when I look through the 100 books that I read this year these are the ones that give me pause. Each of these books surprised me, challenged my way of thinking, uplifted me, or were extraordinarily memorable in their own way. It may seem easy to choose a top 10 for the year, but I am thankful that I've read so many fantastic books that this was a challenging task. To make it easier, I did not count re-reads (Pillars of the Earth) or books in the same series (Bloodline by Conn Iggulden).

 

I'm looking forward to another great year of reading in 2017! 

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review 2016-09-18 23:15
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history

 

What I thought of it:

So much historical facts in it that I didn't even know about

It pulls on everything, your very soul, heart and emotions

Emotional ,dramatic, powerful, compelling

Mr.Larson has a way that once you start reading Dead Wake, you can't stop, it's like he brings it to life , that your actually there, you can see, hear ,feel what Lusitania's crew and passengers felt.

Essentially ,what's it's like to be on a sinking ship, and the weight of life lost.
want to say thinks to blogging for books , Penguin Random House and the author for giving me a chance at read this and review in exchange for sharing my honest
Update:
Its been a day since I finished Dead Wake and I'm still thinking about what I read, this is definitely a book that's going to be staying with me and in my thoughts for a long while.

 

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review 2016-09-11 14:52
Thunderstruck - Erik Larson
Thunderstruck - Erik Larson
   

Not really mystery, because the book starts from the idea that everyone already knows Crippen is a murderer. What makes the book so enjoyable is that the true crime segments breaks up the sometimes tedious timeline of Marconi's long struggle, and in turn, Marconi's various adventures break up the very long marriage of Crippen and his wife.

A crime more than a hundred years old isn't disturbing to me, I can read about it with equanimity. And I'm interested in the development of technologies, but I wouldn't have bothered to read a separate book on each of those topics.

Library copy

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