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Posted September 4, 2010
Great Book, Fascinating Topic!!
This book chronicles the history of Centralia, PA from its earliest beginnings, to, as the final chapter says, "the end of almost everything." Dekok does a very good job not only covering the political and geological aspects of the devastating mine fire, but also recounts many of the locals trials and tribulations regarding their health risks, financial dilemmas, and conspiracy theories. I felt that, through Dekok's writing and attention to detail, that you could really empathize with the people of Centralia even though this is a most unique situation.
There was a lot that Dekok had to cover to make the work complete: the government's ineptitude in both its attempt to extinguish the fire and to protect and compensate the townspeople, the actions of the citizens trying to get various government agencies to recognize their plight, and the gradual worsening of the fire and the various steps used to measure its intensity.
I also thought that the dozen or so pages of pictures were fabulous; some of the photos of the smoke rising from the ground give a graphic detail that is very unique. The only issues I had with the book is that Dekok seemed to posture a little left in some of his political descriptions, but to be honest, there were so many government failures on both sides of the aisle that after a while it really did not seem to matter. I would have also liked to have seen a couple more maps of both the town's area and the impact zone.
Overall, great book, so much so that I actually visited Centralia on my last vacation. When a book inspires you to visit a town that basically is no longer there, that is quite a complement.
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Posted June 7, 2013
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