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

Denise Gess and William Lutz

Holt Paperbacks

0805072934

9780805072938

Trade Paperback

304 Pages

$18.99

CAD21.99

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On October 8, 1871—the same night as the Great Chicago Fire—the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, was struck with a five-mile-wide wall of flames, borne on tornado-force winds of one hundred miles per hour that tore across more than 2,400 square miles of land, obliterating the town in less than one hour and killing more than two thousand people.

At the center of the blowout were politically driven newsmen Luther Noyes and Franklin Tilton, money-seeking lumber baron Isaac Stephenson, parish priest Father Peter Pernin, and meteorologist Increase Lapham. In Firestorm at Peshtigo, Denise Gess and William Lutz vividly re-create the personal and political battles leading to this monumental natural disaster, and deliver it from the lost annals of American history.

REVIEWS

Praise for Firestorm at Peshtigo

"Stunning . . . Gess and Lutz strike a pitch-perfect balance between historical detail and writing style."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Novelist Denise Gess and historian William Lutz brilliantly restore the event to its rightful place in the forefront of American historical imagination."—Chicago Sun-Times

"A hot read. The story is gripping and ghastly and true."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"New material and the best of the historical record make for an authoritative, fresh account of an overlooked epic."—John N. Maclean, author of Fire on the Mountain

"It closes what up to now had been a gaping void in the annals of American history.”—David Cowan, author of Great Chicago Fires and To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire

"You do not just read this book—you experience the heat and fear . . . Masterfully done."—Philip Gerard, author of Secret Soldier: The Story of World Wars II’s Heroic Army of Deception

"A necessary act of recovery. A heartbreaking narrative history that captures the inferno’s full horrors.”—Robert Lalasz, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

"Well research, absorbing and terrifying."—Don Campbell, The Oregonian

"Gess and Lutz have rescued a national tragedy from the dusty attic of forgotten history. This is great storytelling and great history."—Tom Powers, The Flint Journal

"[A] thorough historical narrative. A chilling, absorbing account of the hellish events."—Publishers Weekly

"An ominous and quietly thrilling account of the 1871 fire. Gess and Lutz restore it to historical memory with an operatic quality it richly deserves."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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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 and the author of fifteen books, including the bestseller Doublespeak. They live in Philadelphia.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Denise Gess and William Lutz

  • Denise Gess, author of two critically acclaimed novels, is a visiting assistant professor of English at Rutgers University. She lives in Philadelphia.

    Williams Lutz is a professor of English at Rutgers University and the author of fifteen books, including the bestseller Doublespeak. He lives in Philadelphia.
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