10 books like The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Devil in the White City. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Hidden Figures

By Margot Lee Shetterly,

Book cover of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

I’m a science writer and love to read and write about history’s hidden figures—especially women in science, art, and technology. Margot Lee Shetterly masterfully blends the biographies of five brave Black female mathematicians with the stories of America’s space program and the Space Race. Hidden Figures is a wonderful, inspiring book that illuminates an era bursting with creativity but weighed down by discrimination, introducing readers to a new group of American heroes.  

Hidden Figures

By Margot Lee Shetterly,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Hidden Figures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Golden Globe-winner Taraji P. Henson and Academy Award-winners Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program-and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now. Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as "Human Computers," calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American…

Chicago by Day and Night

By Paul Durica, Bill Savage,

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

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.

Chicago by Day and Night

By Paul Durica, Bill Savage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chicago by Day and Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Showcasing the first Ferris wheel, dazzling and unprecedented electrification, and exhibits from around the world, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 was Chicago's chance to demonstrate that it had risen from the ashes of the Great Fire and was about to take its place as one of the world's great cities. Millions would flock to the fair, and many of them were looking for a good time before and after their visits to the Midway and the White City. But what was the bedazzled visitor to do in Chicago?

Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the…

World's Fair Notes

By Marian Shaw,

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

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.

World's Fair Notes

By Marian Shaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World's Fair Notes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presents a series of contemporary articles describing the 1893 Chicago world's fair for the Fargo, N.D., Sunday Argus, and discusses the author's career and the role of women journalists

Chicago's Grand Midway

By Norman Bolotin,

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

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.

Chicago's Grand Midway

By Norman Bolotin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chicago's Grand Midway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Created as a centerpiece for the Columbian Exposition of 1893, the Midway Plaisance was for one summer the world's most wondrous thoroughfare. A journey along its length immersed millions of spellbound visitors in a spectacle that merged exoticism with enlightenment and artistic crafts with dizzying technical achievement. Norman Bolotin, with Christine Laing, draws on his vast knowledge of the 1893 exposition to escort readers down the Midway. Step by step he takes you past forbidding Dahomeyans and dozens of belly dancers until, at last, you reach the colossal Ferris Wheel with cabins the size of street cars. The tour reveals…

Spectacle in the White City

By Stanley Appelbaum,

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

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.

Spectacle in the White City

By Stanley Appelbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spectacle in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over 27 million people visited the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. Countless more experienced the fair through the wondrous images of C. D. Arnold, the era's foremost architectural photographer. Through his luminous pictures, Arnold became the event's leading historian, publicist, and visual philosopher. This gallery of Arnold's photographs, painstakingly retouched to achieve a new radiance, presents a magnificent tribute to the "White City" of shining Beaux-Arts buildings.
In addition to its visual tour of the Exposition's extensive buildings and grounds, this lavish book also celebrates a city that treasures its architecture. The classical Greek and Roman design expressed…

The Big Short

By Michael Lewis,

Book cover of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

In my career as a corporate spy, I was able to see and learn many things I wasn’t supposed to. As a result, I saw the makings of what would become the world’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the 2008 Crash. At first, I thought I was the only one, until I read The Big Short. Michael Lewis documents the few oddballs and kooks prescient enough to read the financial tea leaves and see the crash coming. More than that, he shows how Wall Street didn’t care, until it was too late. 

The Big Short

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Big Short as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a…

This Republic of Suffering

By Drew Gilpin Faust,

Book cover of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

The Civil War snuffed out the lives of some 750,000 soldiers—more than two-and-a-half percent of the U.S. population. Drew Gilpin Faust’s powerful book tallies the physical, psychological, and emotional toll of living amid mass death. The author is especially interested in all that Civil War death demanded from the living—from a clever rhetorical alchemy to an expanded government bureaucracy; from new embalming technologies to the first national cemeteries. Though informed by deep research and the author’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Civil War era, the book nonetheless communicates timeless universals. Indeed, few books have done more to drive home war’s enormous human consequences.  

This Republic of Suffering

By Drew Gilpin Faust,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked This Republic of Suffering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • An "extraordinary ... profoundly moving" history (The New York Times Book Review) of the American Civil War that reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation.

More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust describes how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief…

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Book cover of In Cold Blood

The grandfather of all true-crime-based fiction, this one skews close to the actual facts. It’s the terrifying story of the brutal murders of the Clutter family in Kansas by misfit criminals. Its chilling narrative remains with me to this day, largely because of how well Capote describes the killings in the deep of night in what should have been a safe space—the family home.

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked In Cold Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly…


A Civil Action

By Jonathan Harr,

Book cover of A Civil Action

This gripping true story of a water contamination lawsuit in Woburn, Massachusetts highlights the best our legal system can be. (Yes, I made an exception for non-fiction here, but only because it was assigned reading in law school. But it reads like a novel, I promise.) After her child is diagnosed with leukemia, Anne Anderson realizes the cancer cluster among her neighbors is caused by contamination of the town's water supply. She convinces a lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann, to take on the case when he discovers that several nearby factories are responsible for the pollution. In taking on the case against the deep pockets of the corporate defendants, Schlichtmann is nearly destroyed seeking justice for the town. (John Travolta stars in a great film adaptation of this book playing Schlichtmann.)

A Civil Action

By Jonathan Harr,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Civil Action as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of a lawyer's battle to win compensation from two of America's largest industrial giants. He fought on behalf of 21 families whose lives were wrecked by illness and death due to the alleged poisoning of their town well. This case became renowned in American legal history.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

By Michelle McNamara,

Book cover of I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

McNamara’s account of the long-unsolved case of the Golden State Killer is gripping by itself, but her decision to include the story of her obsession with solving the case is what really sets this book apart. You feel like you’re right there with her as she pursues theories of the killer’s identity. The timing of the book was also noteworthy as the GSK’s identity was at last determined through familial DNA testing almost contemporaneously with the book’s publication.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

By Michelle McNamara,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked I'll Be Gone in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BASIS FOR THE MAJOR 6-PART HBO® DOCUMENTARY SERIES

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:

Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR | Paste | Seattle Times | Entertainment Weekly | Esquire | Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel | Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle 

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | Anthony Award Winner | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in serial killers, Chicago, and Illinois?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about serial killers, Chicago, and Illinois.

Serial Killers Explore 169 books about serial killers
Chicago Explore 240 books about Chicago
Illinois Explore 67 books about Illinois