Customer Reviews

21
The World's Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World's Fair of 1893
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$16.53+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

73 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2005
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. Also the book provides a copy of the map of the fairgrounds given by Montgomery Ward to it's customers but this map is too small plus it's printed so that part of it lies in the book's center crease. I think it would have been better if the publisher had had a map drawn and used that or had found one that provided more information. There is a three dimensional map of the Exposition available on the Web -- it would have been nice if something like that had been included as well since it's impossible to get a comprehensive, birdseye view of the Fair (nevermind one in relation to Chicago and the surrounding community) from just the photographs. There is also a bibliography and a somewhat incomplete index. I don't know how this book compares to other pictorial books on the Exposition but it was fine for what I needed and had lots of bits of interesting trivia besides.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2009
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2013
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on February 15, 2014
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on August 23, 2013
Love the history of the years and seeing the architecture. In my work, I write about Arabian horses. Some were part of the "Wild East Show" on the Midway; when they were auctioned, some became the basis for much of the Arabian breed in the United States. A good companion to the book "The Devil in the White City," which tells the story of a serial killer active at that time.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 11, 2012
The pictures in this book are awesome. It's such an interesting subject I am mesmerized by the Chicago's Worlds Fair. I wish I could have witnessed it in person and this book truly helps future individuals to be able to do that in part.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on November 25, 2013
Good history book about exposition. Great pictures and stories. Was amazed at the technology, knowledge and work ethics of the people that put this thing togther. Wish it was still standing. Would have been amazing to see in person.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.