The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. by Erik Larson
OMG, this book is fantastic! When I started reading it my impression was that it was a "boys book" you know, murder, building things, mud, but I really really enjoyed this book. The Devil in the White City is a story about the Chicago's World Fair. It is non-fiction, but the author is clearly a genius at research because he has found so many letters/diaries from people of the day that there are quotes and conversations and recollections of what people wore on a certain day and the description of the weather on that day. And not just on the important days of the fair, but on random days that lead up to it. This level of detail makes the book seem less like a non-fiction book, and more like a story, but what it really does is makes you feel really connected with events and people from over a century ago.
The book tells the story of the head architect of the World Fair and a serial killer living a few blocks away from the Fair. It tells the story of how Chicago bid to get the fair, and how it was put together, the remarkable people that worked on it, and the wonders that it created that have had a lasting impact on America. But it also tells of the horrors of the fair, the economic collapses of the time, the deaths during construction and the gruesome killings that were happening a few blocks away that no one noticed until many years later. The story of the serial killer is creepy in the most perfect way, I can't explain it, but the book is being made into a movie and apparently Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be playing Holmes the killer. I think this casting choice will be perfect as long as DiCaprio plays it as a creepy/villainous version of his Catch Me If You Can Character.
I recommend this book so highly, to men, women, people who don't normally enjoy non-fiction, and to people who like history, murder, intrigue and want to know more about the Ferris Wheel.