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Black Fire: The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer--and of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-Era San Francisco by [Graysmith, Robert]
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Black Fire: The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer--and of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-Era San Francisco Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 290 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Six. That’s how many city-destroying fires ravaged San Francisco in 18 months, and each one is shown in its roaring glory in Black Fire. Mark Twain fanatics and firefighter-history buffs alike will flock to the tale of the real-life Tom Sawyer’s adventures fighting fires in the Gold Rush–era city, depicted in remarkable detail by Graysmith, former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist. The core of the book, about an arsonist who stalked the bustling streets of the sloppily built city, takes place years before Twain arrives on the scene and spins yarns with Sawyer, often while they sit in steam rooms. This is a comprehensive look at Sawyer’s world, replete with roguish volunteer firefighters, tricky politicians, street brawlers, and vigilantes. The muscular depictions of these larger-than-life characters are brought to swaggering life using words straight from their mouths based on historical materials. Black Fire captures the spirit of rugged adventure so beloved in Twain’s work and so characteristic of the undaunted city built—time and time again—on the hopes of fortune-hunters. --Bridget Thoreson

Review

"A harrowing account of Sawyer's involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth century San Francisco." San Francisco Chronicle

“Graysmith has amassed an impressive amount of historical detail….A well-researched work about community and fire.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The journalist delved deep into archival material to find the connection between Mark Twain and a heroic San Francisco firefighter named Tom Sawyer, who became the model for one of Twain's most beloved characters.” Sacramento Bee

"Fascinating." San Jose Mercury News

"A sizzling tale...[Graysmith] uncovers Mark Twain's friendship with the real-life Sawyer — a colorful figure in the city's early firefighting culture — and paints a detailed portrait of San Francisco, circa 1849-1866. It's jam-packed with notable residents whose long-ago importance lingers in the city's street names (Broderick, Brannan) — plus mustachioed hooligans and "The Lightkeeper," an arsonist as mysterious as he was destructive." San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Mark Twain fanatics and firefighter-history buffs alike will flock to the tale of the real-life Tom Sawyer’s adventures fighting fires in the Gold Rush–era city, depicted in remarkable detail by Graysmith…Black Fire captures the spirit of rugged adventure so beloved in Twain’s work and so characteristic of the undaunted city built—time and time again—on the hopes of fortune-hunters.” Booklist

“Rich…lively and chock-full of eye-opening tidbits” Kirkus Reviews

"Packing a whirlwind of events around dizzying details of boggy, impassable streets choked with decaying refuse, characters of all manner of disrepute, throughout a booming city haphazardly constructed of highly flammable material, Graysmith (who also drew the book's illustrations) inserts a teenage Tom Sawyer, newly migrated from the east, into one of the most tumultuous periods in San Francisco's storied history... the book truly shines." —Publishers Weekly


Product details

  • File Size: 9468 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307720578
  • Publisher: Crown (October 30, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 30, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007WKEN9A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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