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Publisher's Summary

The author of the number-one New York Times best seller The Revenant - the basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio - tells the remarkable 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 2,000 feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour more than 400 men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days 164 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.

©2013 Michael Punke (P)2016 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Fire and Brimstone

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fairly Solid Book With Good History

The Good -
Well, I learned about an American tragedy that I had never even heard of before. I also learned that the remains of this tragedy are still with us today and will be for a very long time [to avoid a spoiler I'll leave it at that]. This book popped up on my recommendations based on my library and I thought I'd give it a try. Being one who prefers the industrial accident and nonfiction reality books I am glad that I learned about this if only for the sake of the men who died because of others stupidity. For the most part I liked, but did not love it. However, admittedly I took a very long time to listen due to my work schedule and other things so that may have a bit to do with my flat feeling at this point.

The Not So Good -
The actual moments of the incident that started the entire chain of events could have used a bit more detail or elaboration. I don't know, but it was lacking something in this area.

The Bad -
Nothing was "bad" per se; refer to previous paragraph.

The Narration -
Solid and easy to listen to. The performance didn't make me want to run out and try to find another book by Christopher Grove, but I wouldn't avoid one either.

The Overall -
If you like books about industrial accidents or real life survival stories I don't think you'll be disappointed in this book. I do plan to keep it and try a second listen in the future just to see if it was really my schedule or the book that left me so, so about it. If my review makes you take pause then I'd suggest you look at some of my other reviews in this genre.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great history

Listened to this on our road trip through Montana. We were captivated by every detail. The details of the mining disaster was gruesome but fascinating. Really appreciate the cultural, religious, and political atmosphere of the area.

5 people found this helpful

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Bravo!

Well written. As a Montanan, I believe Punke hit the nail on the head. Perfect blend of heroism, corruption, and politics.

4 people found this helpful

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History & Politics

Fire and Brimstone is a well-written summary of the event that greatly impacted 1917 Butte, America and many of the political situations surrounding it.
I rate the performance at 5 stars, although if I'm being entirely honest I may not be the most qualified to judge that. I listen to the majority of the book on 3x as I read along with a physical copy. Cramming for a book report... oops.
Still quite glad I chose this book.
Cheers! And a "thank you" to Michael Punke for sharing your research with the world.

4 people found this helpful

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Story of Butte montana

What an interesting story about the history of coal mining and then mining in general.. Big business versus little worker. I learned a lot and I’m glad I have this book

3 people found this helpful

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Power misused

Very interesting, well done.. Told the story of power and greed and what it did it the lives of so many. There was more than enough money for all to have had decent lives had those in power been decent humans.

3 people found this helpful

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A Must Read

Exceptional book of history, human spirit, and the crushing weight of history on us all. Once you know this story you will understand all others.

2 people found this helpful

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Great detail

Listening to the audio of this story was amazing in great interesting information about what happened in the mine the stories inside this story.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting and complex

A dark butterfly effect in our American history and it all started with the strike of a match.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent narration. Riveting story

While one might say that history is 'dry', this story of the worst mining disaster is anything but. The surrounding details of the political situation at the time help give perspective on the day to day. The details from survivors are heroic, sobering and vivid.

The narrator is smooth and engaging.