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Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History (Wisconsin)

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Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History (Wisconsin) Cover

ISBN13: 9780805072938
ISBN10: 0805072934
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Novelist Denise Gess and historian William Lutz brilliantly restore the event to its rightful place in the forefront of American historical imagination.” —Chicago Sun-Times

On October 8, 1871—the same night as the Great Chicago Fire—the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, was struck with a five-mile-wide wall of flames, borne on tornado-force winds of one hundred miles per hour that tore across more than 2,400 square miles of land, obliterating the town in less than one hour and killing more than two thousand people.

At the center of the blowout were politically driven newsmen Luther Noyes and Franklin Tilton, money-seeking lumber baron Isaac Stephenson, parish priest Father Peter Pernin, and meteorologist Increase Lapham. In Firestorm at Peshtigo, Denise Gess and William Lutz vividly re-create the personal and political battles leading to this monumental natural disaster, and deliver it from the lost annals of American history.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-252) and index.

Synopsis:

A novelist and historian team up to tell the story of the October 1871 fire in the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, vividly re-creating the personal and political battles leading to this monumental natural disaster, and delivering it from the lost annals of American history. 16-page insert. 3 maps.

About the Author

Denise Gess, author of two critically acclaimed novels, is the visiting assistant professor of fiction writing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

William Lutz is a professor of English at Rutgers University and the author of fifteen books, including the bestseller Doublespeak. They live in Philadelphia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Edward Hahn, February 20, 2014 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
On the same day as the great Chicago fire, Peshtigo, Wisconsin was basically burned to the ground by a devastating conflagration. At the time, 1871, the Peshtigo area was a was a major source of lumber for the rapidly expanding U.S.

Gess and Lutz set the table with extensive background about the Peshtigo of the time. It was a good-sized town. It had a good harbor, a river large enough to move freshly felled trees, and a railroad to move the timber to Chicago to say nothing of the numerous lumber mills and the largest wood products factory in the U.S. All this economic activity brought many workers to Peshtigo.

The summer of 1871 was the driest and hottest in memory and the burning of stumps by farmers and the scrap sawdust smouldering at the mills set off the fire bells constantly. No one knows how the fire started but it was already well along when it was spotted. People tried to escape to water or clearings but the thermal effect kept the fire expanding and literally roasted many people to death.

I was glad the authors used the technique of focusing on individuals and not overplaying the horror. While not blaming individuals, they manage to show how greed contributed to the disaster. Part of the tragedy, too, is that Peshtigo had to compete with Chicago for rescue resources. The timing also led to very little about the tragedy making it to the outside world.

It was a very instructive and interesting story. I recommend it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805072938
Author:
Gess, Denise
Publisher:
Owl Books (NY)
Author:
Lutz, William
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
Forest fires
Subject:
Peshtigo
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
Peshtigo (Wis.) - History - 19th century
Subject:
Forest fires - Wisconsin - Peshtigo -
Subject:
Americana-General
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Owl Books
Series:
Wisconsin
Series Volume:
122
Publication Date:
20030631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pages bandw insert, 3 maps
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.85 x 0.85 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Americana » Midwest
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History (Wisconsin) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Owl Books (NY) - English 9780805072938 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-252) and index.
"Synopsis" by , A novelist and historian team up to tell the story of the October 1871 fire in the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, vividly re-creating the personal and political battles leading to this monumental natural disaster, and delivering it from the lost annals of American history. 16-page insert. 3 maps.
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