- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 14, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812971302
- ISBN-13: 978-0812971309
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy Paperback – April 14, 2009
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“Reads like fiction but inspires outrage in the muckraking tradition of Lincoln Steffens and Rachel Carson.”—New York Times
“A real-life epic of brutally indifferent government, greedy corporations, and the unlikely heroes. You’ll feel enraged to know the truth of what happened in our mountains and proud of your fellow Americans who took on Goliath.”—John Passacantando, executive director, Greenpeace USA
“A thorough and often passionate account . . . The Day the Earth Caved In shines.”—Washington Post Book World
“Fascinating . . . [an] excellent study.”—Denver Post
“First-rate research and journalism.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“It is quite a story.”— Wall Street Journal
“ Quigley’s riveting account of the nation’s most devastating mine fire will change the way you think about so-called natural disasters, and the emotions we attach to the places we call home. This is an extraordinary book.” —Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy
“If you can imagine a book that combines the gritty dignity of How Green Was My Valley with the muckraking of Silent Spring, then you have some sense of this deeply affecting work.”—Samuel G. Freedman, author of Upon This Rock
“Joan Quigley, the granddaughter of coal miners, has combined meticulous reporting and personal passion to bring us this important book — one that illuminates an underground blaze that many corporate and government officials sought to smother and conceal.” —Gay Talese, author of A Writer’s Life
“Quigley takes this complex story involving politics, science and history and weaves it into something that informs and entertains.”—Lexington Herald-Leader
About the Author
Joan Quigley first glimpsed the Centralia mine fire at age fifteen, during her grandmother’s funeral at St. Ignatius Cemetery. A former Miami Herald business reporter, she is a graduate of Princeton and of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is a recipient of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for this book.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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*I liked the personal story to start the book, it really made the story come home
*The insights to the people of the town was great
*The story of the fracturing of the town and the politics of it all was very good
*The detail and build of the book instantly ends with the referendum vote. We go from hearing in detail about the clothes people were wearing to poof, the town has emptied out. I would have loved to read about the people through the rest of the 80's and 90's and the emotions as people left.
*This is not a book for detailed science of the fire
*I would have loved a lot (I mean a lot) more pictures. The author speaks on how she had access to all these scrapbooks and such, some more pictures (especially of the people featured ) would have been good. I have been to the town several times so I know some of the streets and generally where things are but I would imagine those who have not would be pretty lost seeing maps are lacking.
*The author said their goal was to tell why people would stay in the face of the fire .... I do not think that this was accomplished at all. The history of the town and area was a great insight to why some thing happened but the author did not really answer the why stay question which is a question amplified in this town but also true across most of the coal region .
Again I did really like this book and think it is well worth reading, especially if you want to learn all you can about the town. What the book does well it does really really well and I will probably read it again at some point.
As others have noted, Quigley seems fixated on what people supposedly were wearing and a lot of similar minutiae that is distracting from the story. I also find it hard to believe anyone would remember after all these years exactly what they were wearing on any particular day, or whether there were leaves crunching underfoot, etc. It's a book that doesn't know if it wants to be a historical record or a "reality" novel.
Quigley also adds little (one fact really) to David DeKok's excellent history of the mine fire. And without footnotes or references it's hard to tell where Quigley got her facts from.
As to the cause she puts forward, it defies logic. While hot ashes could well have started the fire I have my doubts. I grew up with an coal heater in the basement and the ashes never would've stayed hot enough to ignite anything unless one took them from the heater directly to the dump. Even then I have my doubts. I'd bet heavier on the fire department setting the dump on fire as the former chief admits to her.
It's probably the first book I ever bought that I almost wish I hadn't since it was a waste of time and money. Though, as another reviewer pointed out, the pictures and map are better than the ones in DeKok's work. Still, not worth the price.
Most recent customer reviews
I have always been intrigued by Centralia, and wondered why anyone would want to remain in a town...Read more