Deep Down Dark by Héctor Tobar
The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

86%

15 Critic Reviews

The author fully invests readers in the men’s plight by portraying the crushing realization of the dire circumstances...He also devotes sympathetic attention to the gathering tent city of relatives who refused to leave...An electrifying, empathetic work of journalism that makes a four-year-old story feel fresh.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. The entire world watched what transpired above-ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, but the saga of the miners' experiences below the Earth's surface—and the lives that led them there—has never been heard until now.
For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Héctor Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story.
The result is a masterwork or narrative journalism—a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.

 

About Héctor Tobar

See more books from this Author
Héctor Tobar, now a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a novelist. He is the author of Translation Nation and The Tattooed Soldier. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of the city of Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and three children.
 
Published October 7, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 330 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 18 2015
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Deep Down Dark
All: 15 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 07 2014

The author fully invests readers in the men’s plight by portraying the crushing realization of the dire circumstances...He also devotes sympathetic attention to the gathering tent city of relatives who refused to leave...An electrifying, empathetic work of journalism that makes a four-year-old story feel fresh.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 25 2014

Tobar vividly narrates the miners’ lives post-rescue as they come to terms with their life-changing experience and the media frenzy surrounding it. Rich in local color, this is a sensitive, suspenseful rendering of a legendary story.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Mac McClelland on Nov 20 2014

Whether the story is completely new to you, or if you were one of the millions glued to the news reports and wondering, will they make it — physically, emotionally, spiritually — you’ll be greatly rewarded to learn how they did.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Oct 29 2014

Mostly, though, Tobar wisely sticks to the journalistic method of marshaling as many details of the claustrophobic horror as he can, to make the mine and the men's ordeal vivid to the reader. He succeeds.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Scott Wallace on Oct 02 2014

Weaving together the drama of the miners' harrowing ordeal below ground with the anguish of families and rescuers on the surface, Tobar delivers a masterful account of exile...Taut with suspense and moments of tenderness and replete with a cast of unforgettable characters, "Deep Down Dark" ranks with the best of adventure literature.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Noah Gallagher Shannon on Nov 20 2014

...the book becomes a psychological study of lockup, in which Tobar does justice to both the setting and the human dynamic.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by MAX LIU on Oct 09 2014

Reading Deep Down Dark, I inevitably wondered how I would cope with 69 days underground. Yes, I cried when the miners were reunited with their families, and so will you, but Tobar does more than rehash the media’s feel-good story.

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Dallas News

Good
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Oct 18 2014

Tobar explains brilliantly the rescue mission, unprecedented because the men are so far below the surface, the mountain is so difficult to penetrate, and the drillers must negotiate uncharted twists and turns.

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The Boston Globe

Good
Reviewed by Wendy Smith on Oct 20 2014

Tobar traces the miners’ post-rescue odysseys with the same empathy and clarity he devoted to their tribulations, reminding us they “lived an epic story that belongs to the world” but was at the same time an intimate, personal story with a different meaning for each man...

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on Oct 15 2014

His version of the events is so powerful because it’s so deeply rooted in the testimony of those who were there...

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Oct 15 2014

Until now, the world has not known that full story. Journalist Hector Tobar tells it, and tells it extraordinarily well...

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LA Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Paul Teetor on Nov 14 2014

This may be one case where the written narrative is more effective than the cinematic, in part because the overwhelming image in this story must surely be near-constant darkness. As if to drive home its nonvisual nature, the book is one of those rare nonfiction works without pictures...

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Book Rap

Good
on Mar 18 2015

This book certainly should meet all expectations as a true to life adventure thriller. It is factual, in-depth and captures the human drama of these people.

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http://flavorwire.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Elisabeth Donnelly on Oct 17 2014

It’s a miracle, and to write about it with the proper amount of soul is an impressive feat...In Tobar’s hands, this extraordinary story carries a profound amount of weight showing how the human spirit can survive in impossible circumstances.

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The IE Mommy

Good
Reviewed by Lindsey on Oct 09 2014

The story that had the world watching is beautifully told by Tobar and answers all the questions you would have about these men and their ordeal.

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Reader Rating for Deep Down Dark
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 977 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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