The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City


Erik Larson

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The Devil in the White City: Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

The Pittsburgh engineer, still unnamed, submits his plans to the Ways and Means Committee of the World’s Fair. He names his many investors, proving that he has the financial support to realize his idea. The committee approves his design for the Midway Plaisance. He hires an engineer to install his design, an enormous revolving wheel standing taller than the Statue of Liberty, in Jackson Park. The engineer’s name is George Washington Gale Ferris.
Larson finally reveals the name of the engineer: George Ferris, the creator of the world-famous Ferris Wheel. In part, Larson waits to reveal his name to build the suspense, but there’s also an element of historical realism in his decision: if Ferris had failed to finance his wheel, he wouldn’t be remembered, and he would, in fact, remain a nameless “engineer.” After he gets the contract for the WF, he secures his reputation, and we learn his name at the same time that the world of 1893 is about to learn it.
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