Fire and Brimstone

  • by Michael Punke
  • Narrated by Christopher Grove
  • 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The author of the number-one New York Times best seller The Revenant - the basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio - tells the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history.
The worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history began a half hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, when fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Company's Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than 2,000 feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour more than 400 men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days 164 of them would be dead.
Fire and Brimstone recounts the remarkable stories of both the men below ground and their families above, focusing on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas. While the disaster is compelling in its own right, Fire and Brimstone also tells a far broader story striking in its contemporary relevance. Butte, Montana, on the eve of the North Butte disaster, was a volatile jumble of antiwar protest, an abusive corporate master, seething labor unrest, divisive ethnic tension, and radicalism both left and right. It was a powder keg lacking only a spark, and the mine fire would ignite strikes, murder, ethnic and political witch hunts, occupation by federal troops, and ultimately a battle over presidential power.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fairly Solid Book With Good History

The Good -
Well, I learned about an American tragedy that I had never even heard of before. I also learned that the remains of this tragedy are still with us today and will be for a very long time [to avoid a spoiler I'll leave it at that]. This book popped up on my recommendations based on my library and I thought I'd give it a try. Being one who prefers the industrial accident and nonfiction reality books I am glad that I learned about this if only for the sake of the men who died because of others stupidity. For the most part I liked, but did not love it. However, admittedly I took a very long time to listen due to my work schedule and other things so that may have a bit to do with my flat feeling at this point.

The Not So Good -
The actual moments of the incident that started the entire chain of events could have used a bit more detail or elaboration. I don't know, but it was lacking something in this area.

The Bad -
Nothing was "bad" per se; refer to previous paragraph.

The Narration -
Solid and easy to listen to. The performance didn't make me want to run out and try to find another book by Christopher Grove, but I wouldn't avoid one either.

The Overall -
If you like books about industrial accidents or real life survival stories I don't think you'll be disappointed in this book. I do plan to keep it and try a second listen in the future just to see if it was really my schedule or the book that left me so, so about it. If my review makes you take pause then I'd suggest you look at some of my other reviews in this genre.
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- Matthew


Well written. As a Montanan, I believe Punke hit the nail on the head. Perfect blend of heroism, corruption, and politics.
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- cksyme

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-29-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio