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Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A gripping account of the worst coal mine fire in US history--the 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster that claimed the lives of 259 men. "Drawing on diaries, letters, written accounts of survivors and testimony... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An informative and highly moving book

On the morning of November 13, 1909, 480 workers descended into the coal mine in Cherry, Illinois. At about 1:00 pm, a cartload of hay for the mine's mules caught fire and began to burn out of control. During the resulting conflagration there were many acts of heroism, stupidity, selflessness and selfishness, and when all was said and done 259 miners lay dead leaving 160 widows and 470 fatherless children. It was the nation's third most deadly mine disaster, and this is the story of what happened that long time ago in North-Central Illinois. Overall, I found this to be an informative and highly moving book. The author does an excellent job of reporting the events of what happened in a clear and concise manner, giving you a real good understanding of what happened. At the same time, she presents what happened in a very touching way. I found the story of the deaths of the thirteen rescuers lowered in an elevator into the flames to be quite moving. Also, I loved the way that she kept moving back and forth between the story of what was happening outside the mine, and what was happening to the men trapped within. This is a great book, one that is sure to touch you in a very deep way. If you want to read about a terrible disaster and all of it attendant heroism and stupidity, then this is the book to read. I highly recommend this book!

Absolutely riveting.....you won't put this one down!!!!

Karen Tintori's account of the Cherry, Ill. mining disaster quite unexpectedly turns out to be one of the best books I have read this year. Because the author's grandfather worked at that mine (he was home nursing a hangover the day of the disaster), Tintori was a woman on a mission. Her meticulously researched book takes you back nearly a century and recreates the scene so very well. We learn about the town and the imigrant miners who risked their lives each day to eke out a living. Tintori then recalls the unlikely set of tragic events that caused the fire at the mine and the heroic actions of the dozen men who time and time again went back into the inferno attempting to rescue those who were trapped. Fortunately, their efforts did not go unrewarded!!! The shocking part is that the mine continued normal operations for a couple of hours after the fire broke out, causing considerably more casualties than would have otherwise occurred. As a result of this tragedy, significant changes were made to existing Workmen's Compensation and coal mining safety laws. The town of Cherry maintains a small archive of the mine fire in the local town library. I believe it is open only one day a week. I was so moved by Karen Tintori's account of these tragic events that I really do want to visit that library someday. Don't miss this one!!!

Gripping and Informative

This is a real page turner. Karen Tintori does a great job of putting her story in context. She gives us a good feel for the mood of the times, and a fine appreciation for the life of a Cherry Hill miner. One fascinating part for me was how a series of small errors cascaded into a full scale catastrophe. Additionally, Tintori was able to interweave many different threads - the trapped miners underground, the miners' families and company officials topside, government troops and university experts arriving on mile a minute trains - into a cohesive and easy to follow tale. Most interesting of all were the steps that one group of miners took to stay alive. Their adventures, and those of their heroic would-be rescuers, give new insights on survival under all-but-impossible odds. This is a very involving story. If you are not afraid of an emotional roller coaster, then hop aboard for a ride!

Gripping and Informative

This is a real page turner. Karen Tintori does a great job of putting her story in context. She gives us a good feel for the mood of the times, and a fine appreciation for the life of a Cherry Hill miner. One fascinating part for me was how a series of small errors cascaded into a full scale catastrophe. Additionally, Tintori was able to interweave many different threads - the activities of the trapped miners underground, of the miners' families and mining company officials in Cherry Hill, and of government troops and experts arriving on fast amd efficient trains - into a cohesive and easy to follow tale. Most interesting of all were the steps that one group of miners took to stay alive. Their adventures, and those of their heroic would-be rescuers, give new insights on survival under all-but-impossible odds. This is a very involving story. If you are not afraid of an emotional roller coaster, then hop aboard for a ride!

Trapped - Cherry Mine Disaster - two thumbs up

The Cherry Mine disaster of 1909 made the little coal mining town of Cherry, Illinois the unwilling center stage of a world wide drama. When 20 survivors were found, the president of the United States sent a telegram hoping more would be found. The story is gripping, and the book "Trapped" does justice to that story. It is impossible to just open the book to look up a fact, for you will soon find yourself immersed in the story all over again no matter how many times you have read it previously. As one who is a member of a Yahoo group on the Cherry Mine Disaster, I join other historians who are very pleased that "Trapped" tells the story while sticking to what really happened. There are no embellishments, no fanciful enhancements. This is the story as it actually unfolded. And because it is true, because it really happened, it affects the emotions even more. The Cherry mine disaster has been the subject of a number of theses for students and also of movies. This is a book worthy to tell the story of what happened that day in 1909, and will take its place in libraries and universities as a worthy reference.
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