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Under a Flaming Sky

The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, Americas
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

On September 1, 1894, two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded.

On September 1, 1894, two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded.

Whereas Oregon's famous "Biscuit" fire in 2002 burned 350,000 acres in one week, the Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasmalike glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances "fire whirls", or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire to knock down buildings and carry flaming debris into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit - the melting point of steel.

As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Two trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. The heroic young African American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back his locomotive out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than 400 people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today.

Author Daniel Brown has woven together numerous survivors' stories, historical sources, and interviews with forest fire experts in a gripping narrative that tells the fascinating story of one of North America's most devastating fires and how it changed the nation.

©2016 Daniel Brown (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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Chills!

I stumbled across this book by accident, having never heard of this historical event. The fire destroyed 810 km2 in 4 hours and the temperatures reached 2,000 °F / 1,100 °C.

I listened to this book as I walked around the city I work in, picturing the fires which rose as tall as skyscrapers. Fascinating book, with a great introduction by the author explaining his personal connection to the fire.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-07-16

Well researched

Ugh, such a sad heartwrenching story. I cried during parts of this. The author does such a great job of explaining hour by hour what happened to this community. He explains the science of fire and how it kills in more ways than one. He leads you through the the horrific last moments of so many. I literally checked the fire alarms in my house afyer this book.

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  • Lynn Fraser
  • 18-10-18

History lovers dream book.

As someone that loves history and largely forgotten stories this book is a gem.
Worried the subject was too depressing to read I finally gave into reading yet another book by this great author. I will be forever grateful for that choice.
The story, though sad, is of greed, negligence, heroism, ingenuity, resourcefulness, strength and kindness. A story that will forever echo in your memory.
You will not regret the purchase of the book. I listen straight through will only breaks to the answer phone. Yep, it’s that good.

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  • Patricia A. Martens
  • 08-05-18

Great but sad tale

I loved the story though I thought the writing tended to be a little overly descriptive at times. The author did a great job on researching the story which made it more like hearing the event from someone who was there first hand. I thought the narrator was good but a little monotone so he sounded more like someone reading a book than telling a story. I would recommend the book as it definitely kept my interest throughout.

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  • Adventure Dan
  • 28-08-17

Almost too much drama.

Daniel James Brown is just a terrific author. His research of the historical and scientific details make his books fascinating.

In this book, the details are so tragic, so heartbreaking, that for me, the story was at times a little difficult to read. I really enjoyed the epilogue. Learning a little of the author's journey and his relationship to that tragic event lent a deeper appreciation for the story.

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  • Video Connoisseur
  • 04-05-17

After fire started, I couldn't stop listening

A bit slow at the beginning but once fire started, pace was relentless. Narrator's voice was pleasant and he had appropriate pauses between scene shifts.

The author did his research well provided rich scientific and historical details.

I know Minnesota had a greater and more tragic fire around Cloquet some years later. This was touched on only briefly. I wish there was some discussion about why the Hinckley fire is the more famous.

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  • Tara Herber
  • 06-09-20

Great Read

The book can honestly be draining emotionally at times. Having a father who was a firefighter and living in the Smoky Mountains during the fires a few years back it seems to hit a little closer. I enjoyed the book and the detail of it. it is very moving I highly recommend it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-07-20

Emotional rollercoaster, good but sad & depressing

If you have depression or anxiety strongly consider if you really want to listen to this. That is NOT a nock against the book however. Far from it infact. The book is only about 9 hours long I think, but it took me nearly a week and a half to get through. This is largely due to the fact that the events covered in it are depressing and I frequently needed to stop and do something else or listen to different books to let it sink in and process the absolutely horrible things these people endured.

Truthfully I want to write more, but I don't know how to sum up my feeling about it. It made me sad, depressed, kicked my anxiety into high gear for example. BUT, it also was very interesting, hard to stop listening to (out side of sanity breaks), informative and above all a damn good book. I don't know, the feeling are still too real to write a decent review that is not absolutely garbage. just be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster. This is almost DEFINITELY a one and done for me. I will probably NEVER listen to it again, but that is more because I don't want to go through the mental strain and depression this gave me.... loved through and through.

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  • naomi carpenter
  • 11-07-20

Enjoyed this !

I loved learning about this part of history. He is an amazing storyteller, who draws you in. He is fantastic about weaving in facts about fires and how they work. Great listen. Loved the reader.

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  • Gary A. Wilson
  • 08-07-20

First class page turner

A nonfiction nightmare story I had a hard time setting aside to accomplish my goals for the day. We had recently had our own tragedy with fire in Paradise.

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  • Adam D Parsley
  • 29-06-20

Excellent historical event writing

The writer did a wonderful job of pulling me into the event and characters. I was also very pleased with the narrator's work.