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The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine Hardcover – March 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1ST edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609610163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609610169
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 1972 fire at Idaho's Sunshine silver mine was one of America's worst mine disasters, with 91 miners killed—some in mid-stride—by a "stealthy tornado" of smoke and carbon monoxide. True crime journalist Olsen (Abandoned Prayers) has the narrative chops for this story. His suspenseful account conveys the already hellish everyday atmosphere of the mine, the panic and chaos of the sudden catastrophe, the heroic efforts to evacuate, the ghastly deaths of victims, the (sometimes overdrawn) horror of their decomposing bodies and the ordeal of two miners trapped in an air pocket. But he goes further, embedding his chronicle within a social panorama of the macho subculture of the miners—whose disdain for safety precautions may have raised the body count even as their hard-bitten sense of fraternity held them together in the emergency—and of the larger working-class community that frayed and bonded in the face of the tragedy. Like Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, Olsen's is a story of male workers engaged in a primordial resource-extraction occupation, battling natural elements—earth, fire and (poisoned) air—that overwhelm the ties of masculine solidarity. In his gripping treatment, stocked with vividly drawn characters, one finds a metaphorical elegy for America's doomed industrial proletariat. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

On May 2, 1972, a fire broke out deep inside the Sunshine Mine, in Kellogg, Idaho, while nearly 175 men were at work. Nearly half the workers made it out safely, and there were 91 deaths. This poignant book offers a detailed account of the fire, the toll it took on the small mining community, and the nail-bitingly suspenseful rescue operation to save the lives of two men trapped in the "deep dark" mine who survived for more than a week by eating the bagged lunches of their dead coworkers. Olsen, author of a number of books in the true-crime genre, brings his considerable narrative skills to bear in this true-adventure tale. He tells the story in remarkably vivid detail, forcing the reader to experience the horror of the deep dark and to feel the exhilaration of the successful rescue. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I live in rural Washington State (about a mile as the crow flies from Starvation Heights). I've wrapped up my ninth novel -- a serial killer thriller coming out in November 2014. It's called The Girl in the Woods. I've been a guest on Dateline NBC, NPR, Good Morning America, The Early Show, FOX News; CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, Snapped, Deadly Women, William Shatner's Aftermath, and A&E's Biography.

Customer Reviews

That will never happen again after reading this book.
Janine
My daughter is doing a history project on the Sunshine Mine so I read Gregg Olsen's book, The Deep Dark.
K. Simonds
A story that Gregg Olsen tells with a sense of compassion,wit and honesty.
K. D. lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Dear Amazon,

I just finished The Deep Dark by Gregg Olsen and found it to be riveting from the first page to the last. I was that 1st Lietenant mentioned in the book and have wondered about many details of the disaster since it happened. Greg Olsen was able to bring some of my old friends from that period back to life for me and allowed me to be re-acquainted with them through his book.

I felt some of the closeness and love that I had for many of the men come back to me while reading the book, and for that I am very grateful.

I would recommend Greg's book to anyone who would like a deeper understanding of mining and how incredible common everday people can be, when the chips are down and it really counts.

A stellar work by an incredible writer.

Regards,

Lee Haynes

Smelterville, Idaho
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kristy Kae on April 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Sunshine Mine fire robbed me of a Grandfather and an Uncle before I was born. Luckly, my Uncle Delmar survive this tragic event. I couldn't amagine my life with out him in it.

My Mother would often talk about days they stood out side the mine waiting to hear but so much of the rest had not been told. And asking my Uncle was just too painful for him, even after all those years.

Gregg Olsen's book gave me a real insight into what my family had gone through. His "real time" story telling put you right in the moment. I read the book in two days, but I spent many days after comprehending the pain and suffering they all had endured.

I know the Kitchen family is very thankful that he wrote this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert McGee on March 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Turn up your speakers, you can hear the applause. Gregg Olsen has hit the bull's eye with The Deep Dark.

Gregg has skillfully recounted the events leading to and following the horrific Sunshine Mine Fire of 1972. The insight he provides into the humanity that feeds it and danger that is lurking in mining is compelling. I couldn't put the book down until I finished every word. His work not only provides us with a historic record, he's given us a text-book for mine safety.

There were 3 tragic events that were most responsible in the development of the mine safety laws in America today, the Farmington mine explosion in West Virginia, the Scotia mine explosions in Kentucky, and the Sunshine mine fire in Idaho. This book should be required reading for mine managers, rescuers and regulators.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tori Hoiland Nicklas on March 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was a resident of the Silver Valley at the time of the fire. The accuracy of the book took me back to 1972. The extensive research definitely paid off in an amazingly real portrayal of this mining community. This book is a wonderful homage to the miners of Sunshine and the strength of the Silver Valley in May of 1972.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Starr Kelso on March 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the moment you read the first page,you are on shift. Mr. Olsen loads you into the man cage and drops you 5,000 feet into the ebony darkness of a mine shaft. You will be soon struggling for your very life. This isn't fiction, it is real! Whether you choose to try and solve the mystery to safety, be topside in a prayer vigil, on a rescue team encountering shear horror, or whether you choose to give your life to save others you will not be able to escape the grip of this book. When you have finished the last page your hands will remain clenched, and you will be exhausted with sweat on your brow.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gary Hoffman on March 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is more than a rescue journey into the depths of a mine on fire. It is an emotional journey into the minds and hearts of those who survived, those involved in the rescue efforts...and of those left behind. As one who was personally involved, and witnessed this catastrophe, I can say that Gregg has not only accurately documented the events as they unfolded, he has managed to persoanlize it for us as well. One can no longer look a piece of jewelery without reflecting for a moment, about the sacrifices often made in getting it into our hands. This is a must read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By April Maupin on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on the disaster, afterall this is my hometown. I am a miner's daughter. I have felt the fear involved with the danger of mining. My grandfathers worked for the Bunker and the Coeur at the time of this fire. Many of their friends were among the dead. This book seemed to put me right into the middle of it. It gave a true and honest picture of life in the valley when mining was great and plentiful. This is a story that still lives on today in the valley, people have never forgotten those who died or those who survived. Life did change after the fire, miners were more careful, more aware, but they still go down day after day with the thought in the back of their minds that they may never see daylight again. This book allows the outside world, those not from the valley, to see the life these men lived. Thank you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Berk on April 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
...way down in the mine, and Gregg Olsen puts us there with this terrible tale of a disaster that few people outside of Idaho even know about. But then, few people known the deep dark world of hard-rock mining. Before you finish "The Deep Dark," you'll have entered that secret and shadowy world because Olsen walks you through it, inch by inch and tunnel by tunnel. He shines a light, not only on the industry as a whole but the people who lived through the Sunshine Mine disaster...and those who did not. Clear the decks because you not only won't put this down, you'll read it twice. Once to find out what happened, and twice to understand how.
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