Firestorm at Peshtigo by William Lutz
A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History

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Synopsis

A riveting account of a monster firestorm -- the rarest kind of catastrophic fire -- and the extraordinary people who survived its wrath.

On October 8, 1871 -- the same night as the Great Chicago Fire -- an even deadlier conflagration was sweeping through the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, 260 miles north of Chicago. The five-mile-wide wall of flames, borne on tornado-force winds of 100 miles per hour, tore across more than 2,400 square miles of land, obliterating Peshtigo in less than one hour and killing more than 2,000 people.

Firestorm at Peshtigo places the reader at the center of the blow-out. Through accounts of newspaper publishers Luther Noyes and Franklin Tilton, lumber baron Isaac Stephenson, parish priest Father Peter Pernin, and meteorologist Increase Lapham -- the only person who understood the unusual and dangerous nature of this fire -- Denise Gess and William Lutz re-create the story of the people, the politics, and the place behind this monumental natural disaster, delivering it from the lost annals of American history.

Drawn from survivors' letters, diaries, interviews, and local newspapers, Firestorm at Peshtigo tells the human story behind America's deadliest wildfire.
 

About William Lutz

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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, Camden, and author of fifteen books, including the bestseller Doublespeak. They live in Philadelphia.
 
Published August 2, 2002 by Henry Holt and Co.. 251 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Firestorm at Peshtigo

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An ominous and quietly thrilling account of the 1871 fire that burned thousands of square miles and likely killed more than 2,000 people in a Wisconsin lumber town.

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Publishers Weekly

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While the authors go into far too much detail in describing the town's founding and its politics, they render a chilling, absorbing account of the hellish events of the night itself, perhaps due to Gess's background as a novelist: " 'Faster than it takes to write these words' is the phrase every...

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