The Devil in the White City

by Erik Larson

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If you could rewrite the ending of Erik Larson's "The Devil in the White City," what changes would you make?

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One way the ending could be changed is if the book continued and showed us the long-standing effects of events.  I think it would still have to be historically accurate.  After all, the book is nonfiction.  You can change what is described, and where the book ends, but you should not change the actual facts.

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With the book, The Devil in the White City, the ending could certainly be changed. As firmly planted in the time period as the book is, the ending would involve Burnham enjoying his success rather than just being relieved that the fair turned out as well as it did.  Holmes could have been captured much earlier if anyone at all had paid attention to how many young women were disappearing.  Maybe one of the workers would have had a spark of curiosity to follow or tell someone about having seen the oddness with which Holmes worked.  Perhaps Burnham would have been on a round to check on his fair and wondered at the man who seemed to have no real purpose to be where he was at the time.  Coincidence plays a role at the fair as Helen Keller meeting a man who invented the Braille machine, so coincidence could play a role in the ending of this story.  I like the ending as it is, so changing it would be difficult.

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