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The World's Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 Paperback – June 12, 2002


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The World's Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 + The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record (Dover Architectural) + The Devil in the White City:  Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; Reprint edition (June 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025207081X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252070815
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Great pictures and stories.
Paul A. Saporito
I purchased the excellent The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson (which I also recommend) and this book at the same time.
Nathan Beauchamp
He has enjoyed finding out more information about it.
Chrystopher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Rissa on June 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book quite fascinating. I have been reading Erik Larson's wonderful "The Devil in the White City" but since that comes with virtually no illustrations, I bought this book primarily for the photographs, of which it has a great many and which go a long way to conveying just how huge this fair was (there were 735,000+ visitors on the day that had the highest attendance rate).

It also fills in information Larson's book lacks about the exhibits themselves, the individual state and country buildings and the Midway as well as statistics on how much food was served every day and how many bathrooms were available plus it shows pictures of the moving sidewalk that took visitors who arrived by boat to the fair itself; the Xerxes telescope; many displays and decorations made out of corn and oranges; the foreigners who were part of the Midway attractions; the Wooded Island; the first automated paint sprayer (with which a crew of three was able to paint the interior of the entire Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building in only six weeks); a lifesize statue of a wooly mammoth, then thought to have been the largest animal to have ever walked the earth; and several pictures of the Ferris Wheel under construction. It also has a table showing what attractions were available and how much they cost and one indicating which architect designed which building (something Larson's readers will appreciate).

The only real problem I had with the book (and the reason for four stars instead of five) is that it's printed on regular paper stock and not on glossy paper so the photographs are somewhat blurry and grainy and not as crisp as they would have been had the publisher used different paper.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Beauchamp TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book after watching a two hour PBS special on the Columbian Exposition. My imagination was captured, and I wanted more. I purchased the excellent The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson (which I also recommend) and this book at the same time. They compliment one another quite well. I believe I enjoyed both more by pairing them than I would have enjoyed them individually.

The photos contained in this book are astounding. Even living near Chicago, and having been to the location of the Midway Plaisance and having seen the few architectural remnants of the fair (most notably the Science and Industry Museum), it is hard to imagine the scale and overall aesthetic of so many Greco-Roman buildings in one place. The book was very useful for making the fair come alive in my imagination, and for giving a general sense of scale.

As an aside, if you ever visit Chicago, take the time to visit the location of the fair. You can take a walking tour of the area, and begin to create your own internal map of where the buildings stood. Finish up at the Museum of Science and Industry (which remarkably doesn't have an exhibit on the fair, one of the most important events in Chicago's history!) You will not be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Helen Gryboski on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our book club reviewed Devil in the White City about the Chicago World's Fair, and our leader brought this book to show us pictures of the locations and scenes mentioned. I was especially impressed by the pictures of the Ferris Wheel. This book was indispensible for background, setting the scene and adding flavor to the book we reviewed. I thought it did a thorough, informative job in depicting the Fair, and enriched our reading of Devil in the White City.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles A. Clemens on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This oversized book is beautiful. I have read much about the Columbian Exposition, but never have I read such a thorough accounting of the event. The pictures are wonderful. The book is educational and entertaining, a fond memory of America at its greatest point in history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen Wayner on July 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the best book ever written for the general reader about a world's fair. The spacious photos take you there, and the narrative informs you about everything - and duzn't waste a word! I have no hesitation - I'll send it to my brother in Brooklyn (who shares my interest in sociology, trains, etc.) After reading all of the story, I recommend that you give a second, leisurely look at the photos. And I think you'll have an uncanny feeling that you have visited the Chicago World's Fair yourself! I remember going to the 1950s Chicago Fair, called "Wheels 'a Rolling" on transportation, but I guess nobody wrote it up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andromeda on September 19, 2009
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Before the Olympics the world gathered together for the World's Fair. The 1893 Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago and it was a magnificate display of art, imagination and innovation. All the states and territories of the US at the time had their own place. Countries from all of the world displaying the cultures most of which ordinary people never saw in their life time. The book is very detailed on each and every thing that was at the Fair. Arts, machines that could do almost anything, fashion, jewelry, weapons of war, perfumes and so many different cultures. It sounded like so much fun.
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By Marsha W. on February 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a large paper bound book stuffed with great photos! The Columbian Exposition or White City was as fascinating to read about as it comes. It was pure genius of design . If I could step back in time it would be to here. This was the ultimate in experiences in1893 and would be today. Mankind was blown away by the sheer magnitude of the size and design. If you're at all interested in that time period and architecture read this book or just look at the photos!!! Loved it.
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