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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book About The Great Fire
This non-fiction historical book for children is the opposite of dry and boring. Murphy brings alive the excitement and terror of Chicago's Great Fire by incorporating dialogue, first-hand accounts, drawings, engravings, and newspaper reports. My ten year old son could not put this book down (and he usually reads only fiction). In the skilled writing of Jim Murphy,...
Published on August 22, 2000 by Gillian M. Kendall

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Great Fire
The Great Fire of Chicago happened in 1871 on a dry Sunday. The fire began in a barn and swept throughout the city. Through the author Jim Murphy the book takes you through the lives of many people. Eventually it rains, extinguishing the fire and leaving 98,500 people homeless. The Great Fire was one of those books that starts out boring, but if you continue to read...
Published on July 8, 2001 by Don Johnson


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book About The Great Fire, August 22, 2000
By 
Gillian M. Kendall (Leeds, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This non-fiction historical book for children is the opposite of dry and boring. Murphy brings alive the excitement and terror of Chicago's Great Fire by incorporating dialogue, first-hand accounts, drawings, engravings, and newspaper reports. My ten year old son could not put this book down (and he usually reads only fiction). In the skilled writing of Jim Murphy, The Great Fire of Chicago is at once the story of a city and the story of very different people in that city reacting to sudden disastor. Maps and enticing chapter titles ("3.'The Dogs of Hell Were Upon the Housetops'") lead the reader into the story and I, for one, did not emerge from the book until I reached the end.
*The Great Fire* is an excellent introduction to reading history, as well as being a really good read. My only quandary is this: which of Murphy's books shall I order now? My ten year can't wait to consume the next one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My students LOVED this book!, May 6, 2001
By A Customer
I read this book to my 4th and 5th grade class and they loved it! I was afraid they might be bored but the writing is fantastic and the story really interested them. They remember all of the details and have been talking about the fire with their friends and parents. We were all really disappointed when we came to the final page. I've even become inspired to read more about the fire.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Great Fire, July 8, 2001
By 
Don Johnson (Los Angles, CA) - See all my reviews
The Great Fire of Chicago happened in 1871 on a dry Sunday. The fire began in a barn and swept throughout the city. Through the author Jim Murphy the book takes you through the lives of many people. Eventually it rains, extinguishing the fire and leaving 98,500 people homeless. The Great Fire was one of those books that starts out boring, but if you continue to read or listen to it you'll notice yourself wanting to know what happens next. This book goes through the lives of the people during the fire and shows their hardships through great detail. The Great Fire was caused by many mistakes including a tired fire department. They did all they could, but were unsuccessful because they were unprepared for such a disaster. I would recommend this book to people searching for a good historical non-fiction book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough reconstruction of the Great Fire of Chicago., November 29, 1998
By A Customer
"Fire, Fire, Fire," shouts Jim Murphy, reconstructing the events surrounding the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871. Weaving together personal accounts and historical facts, he presents a minute-by-minute portrayal of the Fire's destructive path, peoples' unsuccessful attempts to control it, and their consequent flight and rebuilding. Bibliography and sources demonstrate Murphy's in-depth examination of the Great Fire; through text and illustrations, he recreates the Fire for readers. Objectively, chronologically, and sparked with details from diverse personal experiences, Murphy maintains a dangerous, exciting narrative tone. Developing like a novel, chapters titled by individuals' words about the Fire, Murphy's descriptive, concise text, containing phrases like "tar-saturated wood burned like a torch" and "sturdy brick structures had been transformed into blackened skeletons" ends with an impressive index for student reference (p.72 and p.82). Detailed city maps, drawings of the city before and after the Fire, black and white photographs, all thoroughly explained and related to the text, enhance understanding of the Fire's devastation. Murphy's action-packed narrative, with its occasionally difficult vocabulary such as "flames were driving thither with demon precision," seems perfect for ten through thirteen year old audiences. Younger students can learn it as a read aloud or older students can read it independently and both will feel the Fire's heat turning each page until they escape and the flames flicker out.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think the book was awesome!, February 18, 1999
By A Customer
The book was a great way to read about history. It wasn't bornig at all. I've already read it about 3 or 4 times it was so good. I wish all of our history books were like that I think it would make school 10 times more fun and not boring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Fire Review, April 15, 2006
A Kid's Review
In the book The Great Fire the author gives you a lot of amazing facts, pictures, and he lets you see what is going through four main character's eyes. One of the amazing facts this book gives you is that the people who told the fire engines what place to go, miscalculated it three times, and sent the fire engines in wrong directions. One of the great pictures they give you is a lady on postcard posing as Catherine O'Leary milking the cow that started the fire. This book is a great book for young readers like me. I give The Great Fire by Jim Murphy two thumbs up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh the weather outside is frightful....., December 21, 2003
An in depth and fascinating look at the series of events that caused a tiny barn fire to be the root source of an enormous conflagration. Murphy is meticulous with his sources, and he sets up the action of the fire perfectly. Starting small, Murphy details the problems that occurred as the fire grew. The alarms weren't called in time. Firemen were repeatedly sent to the wrong areas to put out the fire. The firemen were exhausted from a different fire they'd put out the night before. The entire city of Chicago was made of wood. People, this is an amazing book. The personal accounts Murphy weaves in and out of the tale are harrowing and wonderfully done. Rather than a painful history lesson, this book makes the story personal and human. Most impressive, to my mind, is the series of chapters Murphy dedicates to the post-fire Chicago rebuilding effort. The author wins my "responsible historian" vote by repeatedly pointing out that the rich were quick to assign blame for this fire on the poor immigrant working class. The O'Learys (who owned the barn where it began) were eventually driven out of their own town by the nasty lies of the press. Chicago comes off looking wonderful after the fire (the spirit of the people was so invigorating!) and the worse for wear (the classism was absolutely ridiculous). My sole objection to this book was that we never heard a peep about the many African Americans who lived in Chicago at this time. Surely they were just as affected by the massive fire as anyone. Yet not a single mention is made of them. Beautiful endnotes follow this account. This book would be excellent read aloud to students. It builds like a novel and draws the reader in. Would pair well with other stories of American disaster (the Titanic for example).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Fire, May 3, 2005
This book is a very interesting book about the fire in Chicago in 1871. It is a journal type book because of its look and feel. It is quick reading because it is such a fascinating tragedy. This book has wonderful photographs and has four peoples points of view and commentaries throughout the book. There is actually a mix of photographs, maps and drawings. They work to enhance the book dramatically and give it a more personal and real touch. It is a Newbery Honor book and is definitely worthy of that title.

This book interested me because I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Naperville, all during my elementary and Jr. High school years. We were taught about this fire every year for school and Girl Scouts and pretty much everything else I was involved with. In fact there is a song about it that is very catchy and teaches about the fire and has hand movements and the works. Now that I am older and I haven't lived there for a long time it is interesting to go back and refresh my memory about this event and see it from a different perspective.

Jim Murphy has also written many books in a similar fashion including books about the Yellow Fever and Alamo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Review of a FIRE!!, April 15, 2005
The Great Fire by Jim Murphy is an expansive look into the fire that destroyed Chicago. It is as enthralling as it is amusing and it's a good read for all levels.

Through a compilation of different people this story unfolds colorfully. This book is based around real accounts of a variety of people. One of the most interesting people of the book is the news reporter, because all of his facts are blatantly wrong. These facts would later be the view of the majority of critics.

Uncovered facts, which were unknown at the time of the fire, make the book sometimes funny. One of the funniest things about the book is that the fire could've been stopped in several instances, but because of human ignorance it was allowed to grow. Also the fact that most of the firefighters had been fighting fires for two days straight didn't help the situation.

This is a must read book for anyone no matter what your special interest are. Jim Murphy does a great job of arranging many people's stories to create a strong picture of The Great Fire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book About The Great Fire, August 22, 2000
By 
Gillian M. Kendall (Leeds, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This non-fiction historical book for children is the opposite of dry and boring. Murphy brings alive the excitement and terror of Chicago's Great Fire by incorporating dialogue, first-hand accounts, drawings, engravings, and newspaper reports. My ten year old son could not put this book down (and he usually reads only fiction). In the skilled writing of Jim Murphy, The Great Fire of Chicago is at once the story of a city and the story of very different people in that city reacting to sudden disastor. Maps and enticing chapter titles ("3.'The Dogs of Hell Were Upon the Housetops'") lead the reader into the story and I, for one, did not emerge from the book until I reached the end.
*The Great Fire* is an excellent introduction to reading history, as well as being a really good read. My only quandary is this: which of Murphy's books shall I order now? My ten year can't wait to consume the next one.
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The Great Fire
The Great Fire by Jim Murphy (Paperback - August 18, 2010)
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