The book “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the fair that changed America” by Erik Larson is an extremely significant figure in the explanation of the United States of America has evolved. The book is an analysis and presentation of how activities flowed in the country. Through adequate creativity and innovation the book has been able to outline the development path of the country. It shows the advancement of systems in the country, which gave the modern United States the shape or direction that characterizes the country (Larson, 2010). This book has been extremely critical in influencing activities in the United States, by ensuring every section in the government remains on its course in the fight for common rights for individuals.
The book played an extremely critical role in the influence of people during the transition from the 17th century to the 18th century. This was an era for political reform and social activism in the United States. It is during this moment that the book analyses the Progressive movement as the form of government that would purify any impunity that had been caused by another government. Progressives tried to eliminate any form of corruption that exposed the country to political bosses and machines. The end of the Guilded age is a sign of the morally ill Chicago (Larson, 2010). This is well represented through Holmes who is a representation of impunity that surrounded the Chicago City.
Through the characters in the book several traits about the society that existed at the moment of transition of the century, the United States was characterized by a socially ill society. It was a period when individuals were filled with selfishness with everyone wishing for a strategy to outdo his or her competitor in the given field. For example, when Holmes decides to build a house that would accommodate his pharmacy business and leave some rooms for activities for other business people, he decides not to contract Burnham and Root. He argues “involving them will be an exposure for the secrets in my business” (Larson, 2010). This shows that the members of the society did not trust each other for the safety of their lives and their businesses. There are other cases of social evils like murder that surrounded the country in the 17th century.
However, in the beginning of the 18th century, change was in the air. There were sensitizations on the need for peaceful coexistence of the people. There were interactions among people of all classes in the society showing a sign of a group of people that were willing to restore peace and trust in each other. For example, Holmes marries from the royal family. Showing that there were jovial interactions among people of different classes in the country (Larson, 2010). This assists in making Holmes famous and winning him more construction contracts.
During this era, adverse people joined the system to assist in the reformation of the local government as well as improve governmental activities with the involvement of all people or the majority in the society. “Massive transformations are needed in almost all sectors in the society to govern the success of the city” (Larson, 2010). One of the main sectors that were influenced by the book is the organization and construction of the Chicago city. It was the light of the transformation that the book was supposed to bring to the country.
The urge for the city to grow to the modern, industrialized, diverse and incorporated society, began in 1890 in the month of February. There were massive Chicago citizens outside the Tribune office who eagerly awaited the official direction in the future location of the 1893 world’s affair. St. Louis, New York, and Washington had placed bids for the scent and fair competition that was exposed to them. John Root, who was an architect, with his partner Daniel Burnham was also introduced (Larson, 2010). This was a representation of the already willing city to advance or develop into a modern city.
With the use of Daniel Burnham, John Root, the book presents a platform for high quality architect in the city. The architects were a representation of the modernization that was required in the city. It was a sign of the role that education has to the society and how it aids in the development of individuals as well as of the entire society. It is through the exposure of Burnham and Root that the country has been exposed to high standard plans of development and growth. “After trying out a few cities and a few jobs, Burnham finally goes back to architecture in Chicago with the urging of his father. Later, he meets John Root, and they eventually build a successful firm together” (Larson, 2010). This signifies the challenge that these two people underwent in the urge to build and restore Chicago through the expertise they had acquired in construction.
Their skills were not only useful in Chicago. They also played a decisive responsibility in ensuring the United States of America underwent massive transformation in terms of development. The architects became extremely famous in the country with association to constructions in the country. They influenced all types of buildings that were erected in the American soil. Chicago had become a model city that every other city in the country would emulate. It was the center where one could find skyscrapers courtesy of these two architects. In chapter, two Burnham says “work opportunities are abundant for us, but they are characterized with massive challenges and setbacks” (Larson, 2010). This shows that the country was in the move for development and growth.
There are numerous tribulations that could have been identified as unique for the city based on the traits that were given to the company. The White city was termed as the cradle for development in the United States. The country has been a significant player in the influence for the development of the United States for an ample level of development in the nation. It has been cradle to many specialists in construction. This defines a myth that most people try to dig for the city as the cradle for expansion of the United States of America. However, this is not the case. There are other cities like New York and Los Angeles who were in a bid for the construction of the city. This shows that expertise did not only exist in Chicago but in other cities. Therefore, there was no basis on which Chicago would have been called the cradle for architecture in the United States (Larson, 2010). In fact, the city had borrowed massively from other cities in terms of expertise and knowledge for construction.
The term “white city” is also mythical. It signifies the presence of whites only in the city while it is not the reality. The book does not give any outline that would indicate the presence of black people in the city. This is not the reality since black immigrants had already begun settling in the city. It is erroneous to assume that the city was as white as indicated while there were some black individuals. This may signify the beginning of the dominance of the white people over the black people, which is the definition for racism.
The book assumes to cover all the activities that took place in Chicago. It assumes to define all activities in the city in connection to the status of the city. However, there are a lot of issues that happened in the city that may not be fully exposed in the prevention for tarnishing the name of the city.
One of the elements which may be hidden about the city is corruption. In most developing cities, corruption is a virtue. It comes in during the bid for tenders of construction in the city. In chapter two of the book, when Holmes marries from the president’s family, he gets exposed to massive opportunities for his work (Larson, 2010). This shows that some of the tenders that he got were inclined to the relationship that he had with the city in connection with the president. The book could have been realistic enough in expounding on how these tenders were awarded to Holmes.
The city is not also clear on how the architectural knowledge accessed entry to the city. It does not recognize the interaction with other countries, which could have been the mother to the designs that were evident in the city. It is clear that the city had intensive relationship with other cities like New York and Los Angeles, which could have been extremely influential in the construction business of the city (Larson, 2010).
Larson, Erik. The Devil In The White City. London: Transworld, 2010. Print.