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June13, 2014.

TheDevil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair thatChanged America

Thisstory presents a dichotomy description of good and evil through thetwo stories of Holmes and Burnham. The author observes that the worldexposition organized in Chicago in 1893, was good for the country andproved that United States was a cultured nation just like Paris. Inaddition, the world fair proved that Chicago City was safe, clean andable to support the ideals of people visitors. The author alsoobserves that the world fair created many jobs for the residentsespecially when the nation’s economy was worse. Other agencies andunions used the occasion to fight for their labor rights in regardworking hours. However, this occasion of world exposition exposed thecity to other bad things such as increased pickpockets, thieves andmurderers.

TheDevil in the white city represent two stories which occur in Chicagoin the 19thcentury and the author meshes the two stories to illustrate the‘devil that was found within the city walls.’ The story narratesabout Burnham and John who built the white city with the help of manyother foreign architects. The name ‘white city’ was attributed tothe 1893 world’s exposition celebrations held in Chicago in honorof Columbus who discovered America. Many people believed that thefair would not be eventful because Chicago City was seen asuncultured and a pig slaughtering city (Erik, 2014).

However,the residents of Chicago held different perception of their city andwere looking forward to illustrate to visitors that the city wascultured and clean just as New York City was. Burnham and Roots firmwas picked to facilitate the World Exposition Fair. They completedthe task in three years but were faced with great challenges ofdeciding the best location and plan for the Exposition. It took themsix months to decide the location which affected their completiondate. In their vision the two architects wanted to create somethingbetter than the Eiffel tower built in Paris during a world expositionfair.

Theywere met by many challenges like workers strike, disagreement withcommittees who were responsible for approving everything fromlandscape to building design, failing economy and power strugglebetween the Exposition Company and the National Committee forExposition. As such, the preparations were behind schedule thearchitects were also great impediment in the completion of the work.Days before the exposition was opened, Holmes began brutal killing ofwomen and children. He continued with his evils throughout theExposition it is estimated that he killed 200 people (Erik, 2014).

Thesemurders portrayed a bad picture of Chicago during and after theExposition. However, he was later arrested and charged. In the sameway the author illustrated in his work, through the title of thestory, ‘the devil in the city, murder, magic and madness at theexposition that changed America.’ The Exposition changed America insignificant ways electrification was done in residential homes,amusement parks and cultural icons were created as well asinfrastructure development. The narrator takes the reader through theprocess of Exposition preparation against great challenges ofpolitical machination.

Itis also fascinating how the author presents Holmes who preys onunsuspecting visitors during the Exposition. Holmes is presented asan alien who came to the city prior the Exposition and built anexquisite ‘World Fair Hotel’ near the site of the Expositioncentre. It is in this hotel that Holmes carried out his heinousmurders. Larson describes the creation of the city and itsdestruction in a fascinating way bringing out the paradox of issuesthat occurred during the event. In his description of these episodes,Larson makes the story alive despite the time difference in which itwas made. The author presents a chilling yet fascinating account oftriumphs and tragedies of the 1893 Exposition in Chicago (Erik,2014).

Twogreat ideas through the story one is that great events such as theworld exposition fair are great opportunities for development.Planning and hosting such events is occasioned with great changes oninfrastructure, communication and landscape. The author states thatthe City of Chicago was seen as wasteland, uncultured and unsafe.However, after the city was granted the task of hosting the worldfair, the swampy wasteland of Chicago was turned into an ephemeral‘white city’ that enthralled approximately 28 million visitors.The world exposition site was made to resemble a city within a citywith large scale use of 200,000 bulbs that illuminated the city bynight. The other idea presented by the author is that of evil, Larsonobserves that, ‘there is nothing good without evil.’ In his workhe meticulously present the evils associated by such mega eventsthrough the character of shrewd Dr. Holmes the serial killer,&quothewas breathing blood and carnage’(Erik, 2014).

Theauthor describes the conflict between good and evil as occasioned bysuch big events. In his work the author raises important issuesregarding the world fair. One is that while big events are source ofexcitement, fun and source of economic opportunities, there was needto develop efficient security mechanism to safeguard the visitors.The author also explains the great challenges the planners and thearchitect of the world fair faced as they prepared the venue for thefair. In particular, the author portrays the planning committees asbiggest obstacles in accomplishing the preparations for the worldexposition.

Besidethe issue of development that resulted from this fair, the authorpresents the thrilling episode of Holmes the serial killer to portraythe negative side of hosting such big events. The visitors, localresidents and the police are displayed as naive and unprepared forsecurity. The author narrates that, it was not until the worldexposition fair was over, that the police began investigations onreported cases of disappeared people. In this way the authorillustrates the vulnerability of people in such events. Theauthors work is a great piece that explaining how major events shouldbe planned, especially in assessing the benefits and the evils thatcould result from such mega events.

Inparticular, the authors work illustrates the inefficiencies of localauthority in supporting fast preparations for the exposition. Inaddition, by incorporating the evil activities of Dr. Holmes, theauthor does a good job in explaining the need for security duringmajor events. Although the plans of beautifying the city were donealbeit few challenges, the planning committee disregarded the issueof security. The local administration would have been involved in thecommittees in order to incorporate security plans (Erik, 2014).

Overall,the authors work presents a good description of how mega events couldbe planned by analyzing the good and the evils that might beassociated with such events. Larson has achieved this by narratingabout the preparation process of the World Exposition, residents’expectations and criminal activities associated with the event whichmarred the celebrations. In short, Larson work could be useful toplanners of major events in order to shed light on issues that areconstantly neglected during the planning process that could lead toadverse effects to visitors.

Theofficial history of the Olympic Games and the IOC. Athens to Beijing,1894-2008

DavidMiller explains the history of Olympic Games in the 76 Chapter book.The book starts by illustrating the president of the Olympic GamesJacques Rogge. The president of the Olympic casts a doubtful shadowon the future of Olympic Games given the political interests in itscontext however, he expresses optimism about the Olympic idea. Inthe introduction, the book gives a historical account of the revivalof Olympic Games by a French baron, Pierre Coubertin against odds.The introduction part of the Olympic history elaborates about theorigin of international Olympic Committee where readers are takenthrough the economic, political and social factors which influencedthe Olympic movement (David,2008).

Inthis account of Olympic history, Miller elucidates on the dangers ofeconomic might and radical nationalism which characterized the originof the Olympic movement and posed danger to its education objectives.Initially, Pierre wanted to use the games as sporting festivals forimproving moral education of the youths. He was inspired by ancientOlympic Games which promoted education values and ethical standards.The book also illustrates the architectural and technical preparationof the many Olympic Games planned showing technological equipmentsused in the various games. The author takes the reader through thegames ceremonies as though one was actually a participant.

Thehistorical accounts give various details about Olympic Games historyeven the brutal murder of Israelite athletes by terrorist in Germanyduring the Nazism Olympic Games in 1936. The historical account alsogives details of Los Angeles and Moscow boycotts together with thelandmark doping episode in 1988 Seoul Games. David’s discourse workon doping cases in London Olympic Games in 2012 and Sochi 2014,elicited great criticism on his work. He has however, not been cowedfrom writing about issues which he believes are important in cleaningthe lot in Olympic Games(David,2008).

AssessingMillers work and correlating the same on modern day Olympics onecannot hesitate to note the difference the original values ofOlympic Games have been eroded and replaced with vested political andeconomic interests that are void of moral responsibility. Why forinstance does the body continue denying doping cases even when factsabound doping during Olympic Games are obvious? The author raisesimportant issues about the planning and the manner in which theOlympics Games have been conducted since history. One important issueis that the Olympic Games no longer promote the moral educationalvalues espoused by the founding members.

Theevents have become more of an economic venture and politicalmachination. The preparation and planning of these ceremonies ismarred by endless controversies especially on the matter of doping.As the author observes, the doping allegations during the 2012Olympics in London was a serious case which the InternationalCommittee needs to focus on to redeem the glory associated with themega event. In addition, the author points about the radicalnationalism and economic imperials that threatened the goal ofOlympics. Indeed, assessing the modern day Olympic events one cannotfathom why majority of developing countries are denied chance toorganize chance events.

Whilethe amount of money, facilities and security preparation needed maynot match up the requirements needed for Olympic Events, there aremore reasons which explains why holding such events is a tall order.Olympic Games preparations are part of the economic might exhibitionand imperialism. After reading the book one thing that has botheredme is the manner in which the ‘western’ nations views othernation’s culture. This cultural underestimation for other nationsthat have contributed enormously to the history of Olympic is afallacy. The Olympic Games event should be about celebrating culturaldiversity of different societies in the modern world(David,2008).

Thebrutal killings of Isrealite during the Nazi regime in Germany were agreat throwback to the moral responsibility of International OlympicGames Committee. This Olympic committee needs to reevaluate itsmandate in the planning and preparation of such importantinternational Game events. Rather than denying cases of racism,doping, sexual harassment, insecurity and other deficiencies inethics, the committee need to institute adequate mechanisms ofaddressing such issues. It is important that the management of suchmega events be accorded all efforts to forestall any episode thatmight tarnish the glory associated with the Olympic Games (David,2008).


DavidMiller,2008 ‘Theofficial history of the Olympic Games and the IOC. Athens to Beijing,1894-2008), Dom Wydawniczy REBIS, Poznań (Mainstream Sport).

ErikLarson, 2014, ‘The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic andMadness in the Fair That Changed America’ Online resourceBookRags, Inc.