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Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917

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Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history began a half hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, when fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Companys Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than two thousand feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour, more than four hundred men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, one hundred and sixty-four of them would be dead.

Fire and Brimstone recounts the remarkable stories of both the men below ground and their families above, focusing on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas. While the disaster is compelling in its own right, Fire and Brimstone also tells a far broader storystriking in its contemporary relevance. Butte, Montana, on the eve of the North Butte disaster, was a volatile jumble of antiwar protest, an abusive corporate master, seething labor unrest, divisive ethnic tension, and radicalism both left and right. It was a powder keg lacking only a spark, and the mine fire would ignite strikes, murder, ethnic and political witch hunts, occupation by federal troops, and ultimately a battle over presidential power.

Review:

"In this compelling tale, Punke recounts the grim details of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in United States history. On June 8, 1917, a fire broke out in the main shaft of a huge complex of copper mines 2,000 feet beneath Granite Mountain in Butte, Mont. The fire raged for three days, killing 164 of the 400 or so men at work that day. Punke, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and novelist (The Revenant), takes the reader deep underground and into the heart of the calamity. If the horrifying account of the fire and the trapped men is the heart of this yarn, its soul is Punke's historical contextualization of the event. He paints a vivid picture of a city, state and nation in the grip of industrial monopolies. In Butte, copper was king and Standard Oil, in the guise of Anaconda Mining, owned most of the copper (though not the Granite Mountain mine). In Punke's telling, Standard Oil spent lavishly to control the municipal and state governments; they aggressively fought the miners' union. Immediately after the tragic fire, the workers violently vented their fury on the hated Anaconda. Like the hardworking miners he writes about, Punke gets the job done, with sturdy prose. (Aug. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

A former attorney in Washington, D.C., Punke worked on Capitol Hill and the White House National Security Council. A native of the western U.S., he now lives with his family in Montana and is the author of a previous novel, The Revenant, based on the true adventures of a 19th-century frontiersman. Here Punke draws upon his interest in American West history to create an account of the tragic mining disaster that occurred in Butte, Montana, in 1917. Reading like a fast-paced novel, the text provides insights into the broader social conditions of the time in Butte--and the nation--that played a role in the disaster and its aftermath.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

A former attorney in Washington, D.C., Punke worked on Capitol Hill and the White House National Security Council. A native of the western U.S., he now lives with his family in Montana and is the author of a previous novel, The Revenant, based on the true adventures of a 19th-century frontiersman. Here Punke draws upon his interest in American West history to create an account of the tragic mining disaster that occurred in Butte, Montana, in 1917. Reading like a fast-paced novel, the text provides insights into the broader social conditions of the time in Butte--and the nation--that played a role in the disaster and its aftermath. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Recounting the remarkable stories of the men below ground and their families above, this volume focuses on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas during what's known as the North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917 in which 164 miners died.

About the Author

Michael Punke grew up on the North Platte River in Wyoming. During his teenage years he spent three summers as a "living history interpreter" at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. His professional experience includes work for a Montana senator and a stint on the White House Staff. He lives in Montana with his wife and two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781401301552
Author:
Punke, Michael
Publisher:
Hyperion Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Mining
Subject:
Accidents
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
Subject:
Copper mines and mining
Subject:
United States - State & Local - West
Subject:
World History-General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20060831
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 8 up to 17
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in 20.72 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Civil Engineering » Geology and Mining
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Montana
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917 New Hardcover
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$30.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Hyperion Books - English 9781401301552 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this compelling tale, Punke recounts the grim details of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in United States history. On June 8, 1917, a fire broke out in the main shaft of a huge complex of copper mines 2,000 feet beneath Granite Mountain in Butte, Mont. The fire raged for three days, killing 164 of the 400 or so men at work that day. Punke, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and novelist (The Revenant), takes the reader deep underground and into the heart of the calamity. If the horrifying account of the fire and the trapped men is the heart of this yarn, its soul is Punke's historical contextualization of the event. He paints a vivid picture of a city, state and nation in the grip of industrial monopolies. In Butte, copper was king and Standard Oil, in the guise of Anaconda Mining, owned most of the copper (though not the Granite Mountain mine). In Punke's telling, Standard Oil spent lavishly to control the municipal and state governments; they aggressively fought the miners' union. Immediately after the tragic fire, the workers violently vented their fury on the hated Anaconda. Like the hardworking miners he writes about, Punke gets the job done, with sturdy prose. (Aug. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Recounting the remarkable stories of the men below ground and their families above, this volume focuses on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas during what's known as the North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917 in which 164 miners died.
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