Download Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 Audiobook

Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 Audiobook, by Daniel James Brown Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Daniel James Brown Narrator: Daniel James Brown Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9781524723576
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On September 1, 1894 two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book on to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded. Whereas Oregon's famous "Biscuit" fire in 2002 burned 350,000 acres in one week, the Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances, "fire whirls," or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire to knock down buildings and carry flaming debris into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit--the melting point of steel.

As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Two trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. The heroic young African-American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back his locomotive out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than 400 people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today.

Author Daniel Brown has woven together numerous survivors' stories, historical sources, and interviews with forest fire experts in a gripping narrative that tells the fascinating story of one of North America's most devastating fires and how it changed the nation. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “An impressive and richly rewarding read…Brown uses first-person narratives, authoritative interviews, and historical documents to piece together an arresting real-life thriller with critical implications for the present.”


  • “[A] worthy addition to this genre…a compelling read…The power of the stories and Brown’s imaginative skill retelling them [pulls] us in.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Riveting, moving, white-knuckle reading to rank with classic accounts of the ‘perfect storm’, Krakatoa, and other storied calamities.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This deft slice of regional history will attract disaster and weather buffs as well as fans of Norman Maclean’s standout Young Men and Fire.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Mark Bramhall starts with a gentle account of everyday life in the town, even as hints of what’s to come creep into his voice. The reportage of the inferno is woven from the stories of individuals, such as passengers leaving a flaming train and a father drenching his kids in life-saving water. Quietly but unnervingly interspersed is the author’s reportage on the various types of fire deaths and psychological aspects of being caught in a fire.”


  • Barnes & Noble Summer Discover Pick

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About the Author

Daniel James Brown grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. He taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor. He now writes narrative nonfiction books full time. His primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life vividly and accurately. He and his wife live in the country outside of Seattle, Washington, with an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees.