The Devil in the White City

by Erik Larson

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What historical reference is discussed on pages 137-139 in The Devil in the White City and its meaning?

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Here, as in your previous discussion, there is a historical reference to the American Civil War.  At the time of the Columbian Exposition, the war was still relatively recent.  It was more recent than the Vietnam War is for us today, having ended less than 30 years previous.  The reference is right at the top of p. 138.  There, we are told about the person that Burnham wanted as commander of his “Columbian Guard.”  This man was a veteran of “Pickett’s Charge.”  This was a major event at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Gettysburg was an important turning point in the Civil War and this charge was one of its pivotal events.

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