How does Burnham from The Devil in the White City use the World's Fair to his advantage? Also, what details prove Burnham's goal for the fair is different from Holmes's goal?

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Author Erik Larson ’s comparison between Daniel Burnham and “Henry Holmes” runs through the entire book. This conceit presents some of the two men’s personality characteristics and goals as similar. Both are type A personalities who push forward to achieve specific goals. While Burnham is a visionary who made a...

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Author Erik Larson’s comparison between Daniel Burnham and “Henry Holmes” runs through the entire book. This conceit presents some of the two men’s personality characteristics and goals as similar. Both are type A personalities who push forward to achieve specific goals. While Burnham is a visionary who made a lasting impression on the Chicago landscape, Holmes was dedicated to murder and annihilation.

Daniel Burnham dreamed up a grand plan that would publicize Chicago as a singular city, and simultaneously educate visitors about American achievements and entertain them with exotic wonders. Burnham realized that only a truly magnificent spectacle would bring him greater recognition and further commissions. After the success of the Exposition, Burnham went on to create The Plan of Chicago, laying out extensive plans for the city’s future. He went on to successful urban design projects in many cities worldwide.

Burnham worked with a team to develop a detailed plan for the entire fair. Larson describes the many changes in the project team, including how Burnham overcame the death of his partner John Root, and includes specific points about the fair site's and buildings’ construction.

Dr. Holmes’ goal was to entice, defraud, and murder innocent people, especially females. He built a single hotel that would help him with his killings. Larson explains details of the building’s construction, including a gas chamber and acid vats. He tells us that many who entered the “castle” never emerged again.

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Daniel Burnham made his reputation as a visionary architect and planner mainly as a result of his success with the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Constructing the "White City" from what was essentially a swamp was a major undertaking, and one that had many, many problems along the way. When he achieved what he set out to do--make the Chicago World's Fair a rival to that in Paris four years previously--he established himself as one of the premier architects in the country. His goal was to make the exhibition one that had elements of various classical styles and was planned so that the different areas flowed well.

"Dr." Henry Holmes, real name Herman Mudgett, also had a meticulous plan that he brought into existence at the time of the Fair. His, however, was to design a "hotel" that was in reality a place where he could commit multiple murders without being caught. It is unknown how many people he actually killed. Devil in the White City deals mainly with the murders that Holmes/Mudgett was known to have committed.

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