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Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith Hardcover – November 13, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The story of the nine Pennsylvania coal miners who were trapped underground for more than three days last July could have easily been sidetracked by aphorisms about America's post-September 11 can-do spirit and the like. But since this tale is mainly told via the miners' own words, it's a blessedly unsentimental and true-to-life account of a horrifying situation and a triumphant escape. Goodell (The Cyberthief and the Samurai: The True Story of Kevin Mitnick-And the Man Who Hunted Him Down) proves a knowing scribe for this story of adventure and endurance, alternating between filling in the setting when necessary and just letting the miners talk, oral history style. For example, one miner, John Unger, recalls, "To keep our spirits up, we talked about what we were going to do when we got out.... Nobody had anything extravagant in mind. Harpo was going to have a cigarette and a beer and a chew." Goodell then adds, "At about 2:30 p.m., Yost's drill finally reached a depth of about 230 feet, roughly 15 feet above the floor of the mine." It's a pulse-racing tale, in which a drill punches into an old, abandoned, water-filled mine, quickly flooding the space where the miners are working, trapping them in a dark, cold pocket of rapidly diminishing air. Goodell wisely keeps the focus on these hard-bitten men and the bravery that kept them going through those long, indistinguishable days and nights underground. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A moving account of the near-tragedy from start to finish." -- Arizona Republic

"Isn't the only new book about . . . nine men from a flooded Pennsylvania coal mine, but it's the best." -- Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kingswell; 1 edition (November 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401300553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401300555
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,926,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JEFF GOODELL is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith. Goodell's memoir, Sunnyvale: The Rise and Fall of a Silicon Valley Family, was a New York Times Notable Book. The New York Times called his most recent book, Big Coal, "a compelling indictment of one of the country's biggest, most powerful and most antiquated industries . . . well-written, timely, and powerful."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCullough on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Pretty easy read and insightful into the ordeal these nine men and their families went through. But... it could have been so much more. Goodell simply justs organizes their comments and adds a little info here and there. I would have prefered to have read an account researched by an author where he took those interviews and created a mesmorizing narrative. What it is now is an okay book that you can read in a day. But what it could have been would have been a gripping story that made you feel like you were in that mine with them or waiting in the fire station with friends and family hoping for the miracle that came. Also, the pictures left a lot to be desired. The diagram of the mine was helpful but most of the pictures were of rescuerers not mentioned in the book or faint photos of the men as they came to the surface. Also I kept having to look back at the jacket to connect who was whom because the author used nicknames but the diagram had real names. Otherwise an okay book so I give it 3 stars. The story of the miracle itself is worth 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating story about 9 miners, in the town of Quecreek, Pennsylvania, who wound up trapped in the depths of a coal mine for 77 hours. The way it was told, however......That's another issue. If this book were picked up by a novel writer or pretty much anyone who can tell a good story, it would have been a great read. Instead it was written like an hour long news report with a narrator filling in the gaps between the member interviews. This approach does give a lot of direct quotes from the miners and their families, but it also leaves in the poor grammar and speech that makes them sound a lot less intelligent than they probably are, and doesn't leave you sympathizing with them by the way they actually experienced the trauma. It was lot of, "we thought we was gonna die", without digging into the progression of that reality. I usually wouldn't say this, but it could have used a little hollywood flavor to get the reader engaged with the story. It would definitely make for a good novel/movie, but it just didn't deliver in this book.

While I never really had an interest in mining (still don't), it does give you a good picture as to how life in a coal mine works, and the desperation in a persons life that might lead someone to that field of work. Overall, I think the story itself could make for a great novel or movie (if done well), but this was read like someone just interviewed the miners and their wives and then compiled the quotes to make a book. I don't usually give books away, but this might end up at Goodwill very soon.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I appreciated hearing the miners' own words about this terrifying experience. It was truly inspirational. I feel compassion and understanding for the emotional roller coaster experienced by their families as a result of these events. However, I was ultimately disgusted by the words of some of the family members criticizing and complaining about how management and public officials handled the rescue. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent and an enormous amount of people devoted expertise, time, and energy to the rescue effort. This work documented few or no expressions of appreciation and thanks from family members for these efforts, only ongoing and constant criticism and complaints about people that were doing their absolute best in difficult circumstances. It's one thing for a distressed person to be freaked out and disappointed when a rescue is not going perfectly. That is forgivable. What is documented in this book goes far beyond that.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First and formost this is a good book. It really brings to life a situation people who are not miners can barely understand. I myself picked the book up on a whim to read a good story and I got just that.
I did however feel the book was lacking somewhere. Maybe it was the lack of detail or maybe it was the way in which it was written, I just felt it could have 'bowled me over' a little more than it did.
If you would like to read an amazing story about an amazing group of people this is a book you should read. Just don't look for anything too amazing on the pages.
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Format: Hardcover
Like everyone else I had heard of this event in the news. Reading about what each miner was thinking at specific times was super interesting. I like that the author included the families in the time line. For me it was the perfect amount of information. I learned what was meant by "building walls" and also about the code that is printed on the inside of the miners hard hats, that's information I would have never learned about without reading this book.I definitely recommend this book.
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