Fire and Brimstone by Michael Punke
The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917

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Synopsis

The true story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history

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 Company's 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 story--striking 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.
 

About Michael Punke

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Michael Punke lives with his family in Montana. A former partner in a Washington law firm, his diverse professional experience includes work on the White House National Security Council and on Capitol Hill. Punke is the history correspondent for "Montana Quarterly" magazine and is the author of a novel, "The Revenant", about the adventures of a nineteenth-century frontiersman. Punke is also the author of a work of nonfiction, "Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917", a finalist for the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award.
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Hachette Books. 352 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fire and Brimstone

Kirkus Reviews

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U.S. mining tragedies of recent years have a way to go to compare with the disaster that took 163 lives beginning on June 8, 1917, outside of Butte, Mont.

| Read Full Review of Fire and Brimstone: The North...

Publishers Weekly

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In this compelling tale, Punke recounts the grim details of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in United States history.

May 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Fire and Brimstone: The North...

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