"In most history books, disasters-when they are recounted at all-are reduced to numbers. The dead. The cost. But in this remarkable look at a forgotten moment, Susan Kushner Resnick replaces statistics with detailed lives of some of the seventy-five men who died in the 1943 mine explosion in Bearcreek, Montana-an explosion that, for some families, still echoes today."-Scott Martelle, author of Blood Passion: The Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West (Scott Martelle )
"Susan Resnick has done a marvelous and very difficult thing. Through her fine research and wonderful prose, she has captured the heart and soul of an American town that was brilliantly alive until the day a sudden disaster all but killed it. How that day came is a matter of documentation, but Resnick is far from satisfied with mere reporting on the life and death of a town. She has dug deep, as deep as the mine beneath Montana that is the centerpiece of this remarkable history. This is one of the best books I've ever read about mining and the strong, amazing, enduring people who do it."-Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys and October Sky (Homer Hickam 20090519)With a compassionate voice, Resnick paints the picture of innocent, idyllic Bearcreek and its earnest residents as she builds up to the inevitable tragedy to come.Resnick's book celebrates the strength and dignity of these miners and their families.
--In These TimesAs I started reading Resnick's book I kept asking one question--Why am I not familiar with this disaster? And wondering one thought---Why does this kind of disaster keep happening?
"Few accounts have ever done justice to the women, families and communities of coal towns, or depicted their character with such clarity as this book does. The heartrending and yet, in the end, inspiring portraits of actual people willing to battle against a callous industry are skillfully rendered."—Gordon Simmons, Charleston Gazette
(Gordon Simmons Charleston Gazette
"Resnick does an admirable job of breathing life into the story of a small town's demise and its questioning of whether the disaster could have been avoided."—Lisa Bonos, Washington Post
(Washington Post Lisa Bonos
"Those who enjoy reading history and about the perseverance of the human spirit will not soon forget this story of the tragedy that left fifty-eight women widowed and 125 children fatherless."—Robin Rarrell Edmunds, ForeWord
(Robin Rarrell Edmunds ForeWord
"Ms. Resnick writes about a tougher time, of miners who sensed they were in danger but went into the mine anyway, determined to feed their families and keep the coal coming. . . . This story will never be told better."—David Crisp, Billings Outpost
(David Crisp Billings Outpost
"Goodbye Wifes and Daughters weaves together a narrative about death and survival that provides a fascinating window into the underground coal-mining industry during World War II. Most importantly, the book is filled with the stories of people—including those of the Wakenshaw, Mourich, Anderson, and Freeman families—that place the Smith Mine disaster squarely in a context not previously known." Jon Axline, Montana, the Magazine of Western History
(Jon Axline Montana, the Magazine of Western History
"What makes Resnick's book significant . . . is her account of the people of Bearcreek, the miners and their families. Her treatment of the actions of surviving women, and their relentless determination to get answers and justice, not only humanizes our understanding of the tragedy and its aftermath, it vividly illustrates the strength and courage of ordinary people living and working in a coal mining community."—Gordon Simmons, Charleston Gazette
(Gordon Simmons Charleston Gazette