The Devil in the White City By Erik Larson Summary and Analysis Part III: Chapter 38 - Worry

Summary

The fair's attendance hits a daily record of 250,000 to 300,000 people on July 4th. However, in the days following, attendance again plummets to a fraction of what it was on that record-setting day. Burnham and other key stakeholders feel a sense of urgency. Burnham decides that in order for the fair to become a financial success, he must make sure that attendance surpasses 100,000 for the rest of the fair's run. He knows that in order for his goal to be met, Millet must increase his promotional efforts and the railroads must lower their fares — sharp challenges in an ever-declining global economy.

Analysis

This brief chapter serves to build suspense. Although Burnham has had many successes, such as the Ferris wheel and record attendance on July 4th, pressure again amounts. Can Burnham live up to the expectations that he has created for himself and that Chicago has placed on him?

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