Every week, The Thread recommends a book that offers a fresh perspective on the news.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together is only days away, but my mind is on a very different fair.
I was in Chicago last weekend, and I took an architectural boat tour down the Chicago River. The guide pointed out the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, and told us the story of the very first Ferris wheel, which was built for the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.
City leaders at the time challenged engineers to "out-Eiffel" Paris with a Chicago structure that could amaze visitors, just like the Eiffel Tower did. Young George Washington Ferris took up the challenge and erected the wheel. It was a huge hit.
Erik Larson's book, "Devil in the White City," captures much of the fascinating history of the fair, but that's only half of it. Larson weaves the true story of a serial killer on the loose in with the fair history.
The fair attracted millions of visitors, including young women from all over the country. People poured in from all over to to marvel at modern inventions on Chicago's Midway Plaisance — and they didn't always make it home.
Larson writes in the first pages of his book, "It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge — so very easy in the smoke and din ... to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago on the eve of the greatest fair in history."
This is the perfect time to dig into "Devil in the White City" — before it hits the big screen. Martin Scorsese has signed on to direct the adaptation, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as Dr. H.H. Holmes, the killer who haunted the fair.