The Devil In The White City; Murder, Magic, and Madness At The Fair That Changed America

1329 Words 6 Pages
The Great Fair of 1893 was held as a major achievement for its time. Huge buildings, impossible feats of engineering, a mixing of cultures, and the use of many new technologies were major aspects of its success. However, even though the builders of the fair worked against impossible odds, they required a leader, a figurehead to lead the way to success. In his book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson’s portrays Burnham’s obsession with grandeur as a key part of his persona to emphasize why he was the right man for the job. Larson includes examples of Burnham’s high opinions of grandeur and elegance, as well as his understanding of their greater effect on the general …show more content…
Larson makes that the reader knows Burnham understood that the fair was not only about the buildings. Burnham’s attention to the scale at which the exposition shows that he was focused on the production as a whole, setting him up to limit the amount of unforeseen problems that would occur and through this Larson praises Burnham and his understanding of what the fair would require. Another location where Larson purposefully includes Burnham’s understanding of grandeur and elegance’s effect on people is at the beginning of the book, when Burnham is quoted, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood” (xii). Larson includes this quote at the very beginning of the story to highlight that Burnham has a working knowledge of human desire. The significance of its placement before the story begins allows the reader to understand that anything Burnham does in this book; he will do it to the fullest potential because he understands that, in order to leave a lasting impact on the world, he must make this fair the grandest creation ever seen by man. Because Larson chose to include this quote, he emphasizes that Burnham’s understanding of human reactions is a reason why Burnham was a perfect fit for the role of lead architect. Burnham’s obsession with grandeur and elegance becomes his greatest tool as he goes about building this
Open Document