Please identify an important lesson in the book "The Devil in the White City."

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The subtitle of Larson's book is "Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America."  This could be a clue to one of the themes, or messages, that he is trying to communicate in his historical novel.  The 1893 Chicago World's Fair - properly known as the World's Columbian Exposition in honor of Christopher Columbus's arrival 400 years earlier - was a turning point in American history.  America was built upon determination, and America was an underdog.  Despite the odds, the American colonies were the first of the British Empire to successfully revolt, overthrow British rule, and establish a stable government of their own.  The Chicago Fair was also an underdog; Americans were determined to show up the French and their World's Fair of 1889.  Europeans had been leading the field in these types of world exhibitions - the only one America had tried, in Philadelphia, had been a financial failure.  The planning of the Chicago Fair was enormous in scope, so large that no one believed it could be pulled off.  However, the genius, dedication, and innovation of the planners made it all possible, and this fair broke the world record for attendance.  The innovations of the fair - from Wrigley's gum to the Ferris wheel - would put America on the cultural map.  We entered the twentieth century a much larger world presence than we had been, and it was American determination that got us there.

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One important lesson in Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is to always be careful, especially in new surroundings.  H.H. Holmes, the alias of the serial killer in the book, lured women who were new to Chicago to work in his drugstore.  After he wooed them, he got them to take out life insurance and he offered them a place to stay in his mansion, which was really a specially designed murder house with airtight rooms where he could gas his victims.  Holmes would then arrange to have the flesh stripped off the bones and send the skeletons to medical schools who were desperate to have bodies.  It is highly unlikely that this scenario would happen today, as social media and cell phones make it possible to have constant contact with the outside world, but one should always maintain one's guard.  These women who were lured by the World's Fair in Chicago and the White City were never seen again, and to this day no one is really sure how many people Holmes killed.  

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