The best books about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

The Books I Picked & Why

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

By Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Why this book?

Erik Larson tells the parallel stories of the men who built the World’s Fair in Chicago, the man who would assassinate Chicago’s mayor at the end of it, and the serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who killed women during it. It’s a nonfiction book that reads like a novel but has enough details to satisfy the most ardent history-lover.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the Paris of America

By Paul Durica, Bill Savage

Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the Paris of America

Why this book?

Originally published in 1892 as a guidebook for visitors to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, this book has been reprinted with an introduction and endnotes from modern historians, but the bulk of the content is exactly what visitors read more than 100 years ago. The book is full of descriptions about Chicago itself as well as the highlights of the Fair.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

World's Fair Notes: A Woman Journalist Views Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition

By Marian Shaw

World's Fair Notes: A Woman Journalist Views Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition

Why this book?

This collection of columns was written by a female reporter for a newspaper in Fargo, North Dakota. It’s fascinating to read what struck her as the most noteworthy as she described the World’s Fair for people who may never see it for themselves. Includes photographs.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Chicago's Grand Midway: A Walk around the World at the Columbian Exposition

By Norman Bolotin

Chicago's Grand Midway: A Walk around the World at the Columbian Exposition

Why this book?

Since the Midway was not on the official fairgrounds, it isn’t always discussed in detail in books about the Columbian Exposition/World’s Fair. This book focuses solely on the Midway and includes the background on all the attractions from Mr. Ferris’s Wheel to Cairo Street to Old Vienna, along with photographs and a map.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Spectacle in the White City: The Chicago 1893 World's Fair

By Stanley Appelbaum

Spectacle in the White City: The Chicago 1893 World's Fair

Why this book?

This gorgeous coffee table book jam-packed with full-size photographs from every angle of the Fair. There is enough text to explain what the reader is looking at, but the glory of this volume is the photography. The map at the front is one of the best I’ve found, as well.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists