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Book cover of Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894

Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894

by Daniel James Brown

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 304
Paperback
ISBN: 9780061236259






Available to Buy

Overview of Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894

On September 1, 1894, two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping more than two thousand people. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. As temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, the firestorm knocked down buildings and carried flaming debris high into the sky. Two trains—one with every single car on fire—became the only means of escape. In all, more than four hundred people would die, leading to a revolution in forestry management and the birth of federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires.

A spellbinding account of danger, devastation, and courage, Under a Flaming Sky reveals the dramatic, minute-by-minute story of the tragedy and brings into focus the ordinary citizens whose lives it irrevocably marked.

Synopsis of Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894

On September 1, 1894, two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping more than two thousand people. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. As temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, the firestorm knocked down buildings and carried flaming debris high into the sky. Two trains—one with every single car on fire—became the only means of escape. In all, more than four hundred people would die, leading to a revolution in forestry management and the birth of federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires.

A spellbinding account of danger, devastation, and courage, Under a Flaming Sky reveals the dramatic, minute-by-minute story of the tragedy and brings into focus the ordinary citizens whose lives it irrevocably marked.

Publishers Weekly

On September 1, 1894, Hinckley, Minn.-a thriving town with a population of more than 1,200, two railroads, a successful lumber mill and five hotels-was ravaged by a firestorm that grew out of a catastrophic convergence of two ordinary fires, high winds, hot weather and white pine forest. Brown, a textbook writer, gives a human face to natural calamity as he draws on firsthand survivor stories, such as those of his grandfather, who at nine was rescued from the disaster that killed his father, a Norwegian immigrant. A wide range of characters evoke the reader's pity and respect in these well-researched and highly readable pages. A black porter selflessly saves white passengers on a train engulfed in flames; a quick-thinking clergyman plunges into a river with a stranger's baby in his arms; and a survivor is haunted by the death screams of 127 of his neighbors in a swamp. With its pine forests obliterated in the firestorm that claimed more than 436 lives, Hinckley became a specter of its former self. Illustrated with period pictures, this deft slice of regional history will attract disaster and weather buffs as well as fans of Norman Maclean's standout Young Men and Fire. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

About the Author, Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown is the author of the widely acclaimed Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894. He lives in the country east of Redmond, Washington, with his wife and two daughters.

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Editorials

From Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
It was a town that could have inspired The Music Man -- filled with shops, clapboard buildings, trains, and horse-drawn carriages. Young children spent their days eating freshly churned ice cream and drinking root beer, while their older siblings spent their evenings at parties, flirting and square-dancing. But Hinckley, Minnesota, would become famous for a far more terrible reason. It was the site of a massive firestorm at the tail end of the 19th century that killed more than 400 people -- a firestorm so powerful that it continues to influence current forestry and fire-management practices today.

As Brown deftly describes it, the denizens of Hinckley, a lumber-mill town known for its white pine, were having an unusually hot summer, with a record-low rainfall. But without a modern-day understanding of the science behind fires, they had no idea of the danger brewing. So when the massive conflagration sped into town -- leapfrogging to new locations, setting off explosions, and combing with new flare-ups -- the only question was, who would make it out alive?

Readers who enjoyed the recent Discover pick The Children's Blizzard will find Under a Flaming Sky an impressive and richly rewarding read. The descendant of a Hinckley resident, Brown uses first-person narratives, authoritative interviews, and historical documents to piece together an arresting real-life thriller with critical implications for the present. (Summer 2006 Selection)

Publishers Weekly

On September 1, 1894, Hinckley, Minn.-a thriving town with a population of more than 1,200, two railroads, a successful lumber mill and five hotels-was ravaged by a firestorm that grew out of a catastrophic convergence of two ordinary fires, high winds, hot weather and white pine forest. Brown, a textbook writer, gives a human face to natural calamity as he draws on firsthand survivor stories, such as those of his grandfather, who at nine was rescued from the disaster that killed his father, a Norwegian immigrant. A wide range of characters evoke the reader's pity and respect in these well-researched and highly readable pages. A black porter selflessly saves white passengers on a train engulfed in flames; a quick-thinking clergyman plunges into a river with a stranger's baby in his arms; and a survivor is haunted by the death screams of 127 of his neighbors in a swamp. With its pine forests obliterated in the firestorm that claimed more than 436 lives, Hinckley became a specter of its former self. Illustrated with period pictures, this deft slice of regional history will attract disaster and weather buffs as well as fans of Norman Maclean's standout Young Men and Fire. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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