“Novelist Denise Gess and historian William Lutz brilliantly restore the event to its rightful place in the forefront of American historical imagination.” —Chicago Sun-Times
On October 8, 1871—the same night as the Great Chicago Fire—the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, was struck with a five-mile-wide wall of flames, borne on tornado-force winds of one hundred miles per hour that tore across more than 2,400 square miles of land, obliterating the town in less than one hour and killing more than two thousand people.
At the center of the blowout were politically driven newsmen Luther Noyes and Franklin Tilton, money-seeking lumber baron Isaac Stephenson, parish priest Father Peter Pernin, and meteorologist Increase Lapham. In Firestorm at Peshtigo, Denise Gess and William Lutz vividly re-create the personal and political battles leading to this monumental natural disaster, and deliver it from the lost annals of American history.
“Another stunning disaster read. Denise Gess and William Lutz strike a pitch-perfect balance between historical detail and writing style.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A heartbreaking narrative history that captures the inferno’s full horror.” —Raleigh News Observer
“Vivid and compelling history.” —The Boston Globe
“A hot read. The story is gripping and ghastly and true.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer