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A Matter of Degree: The Hartford Circus Fire & The Mystery of Little Miss 1565 Hardcover – September 24, 2001
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From the Publisher
A MATTER OF DEGREE is now the subject of a major operatic theater piece entitled The History Lesson, which had its premiere at the CSUS Festival of New American Music in San Francisco. Composed by Howard Hersh, with a libretto by Francesca Hersh, the piece presents the facts surrounding the Hartford Circus Fire in a context intended to demonstrate the impact of human suffering and the redemptive power of forgiveness.
Howard Hersh is also the composer of Sketches from Life, Shrapnel in the Heart, and Earthly Prayers, a 52-minute piece that premiered on National Public Radio.
A MATTER OF DEGREE has been chosen as a finalist in ForeWord Magazine's BOOK OF THE YEAR Awards in the history category for 2001.
From the Author
I'm proud to have written what I believe is an important work about a little-known event in modern history. The Ringling circus fire of July 6, 1944 in Hartford was a devastating tragedy, but far too few American citizens--far too few people around the world--have been properly informed about a disaster of such emotional magnitude, a catastrophe that claimed 168 lives. Three times as many children died in Hartford in 1944 than died in Oklahoma City in 1995. There were no video cameras, satellites or cable news networks at that time. Had there been a way to transmit images of human sacrifice as they were captured, the impact of that sad summer afternoon would be indelibly imprinted on our nation's memory. In my own way, I have attempted to provide the facts that would bring the story of the Ringling circus fire to life, and I'm grateful to those who have shared the creative journey with me.