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Authors Denise Gess and Willaim Lutz now recreate the history of the Preshtigo Fire for modern readers. They set the backdrop by telling a bit about the town before the fire and the people who inhabit it. Then they give accounts of the blaze through the eyes of those few who managed to survive. The descriptions of the blaze and particularly of its aftermath are unrelentingly gruesome and haunting. Gess and Lutz are fine writers. The book is well researched and highly readable. My only quibble is that at just over 220 pages of text it is a tad slight for a work of history.
Overall, "Firestorm at Preshtigo" is a haunting true life tale that should be of much appeal to history and disaster buffs.
The town was gone in less than an hour, reduced to ashes, with widespread, nearly instantaneous loss of life. This tale is not for the faint-hearted as Gess and Lutz pull no punches in describing the scenes of devastation. Since earlier fires had destroyed telegraph lines from the remote mining town, the rest of the nation learned little of the fate of Peshtigo, and the disaster there was overshadowed by the Chicago fire of the same date (and the boosterism and rebuilding of its aftermath). Gess and Lutz have restored a page of midwestern history in this engrossing book. Highly recommended.
teach us things we need to prevent it from happening again.
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