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To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire
     

To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire

by David Cowan, John Kuenster (With)
 
The story of one of the deadliest fires in American history that took the lives of ninety-two children and three nuns at a Catholic elementary school in Chicago. An absorbing account...a tale of terror. —New York Times Book Review

Overview

The story of one of the deadliest fires in American history that took the lives of ninety-two children and three nuns at a Catholic elementary school in Chicago. An absorbing account...a tale of terror. —New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History - Dominic A. Pacyga
A journalistic account of tragedy...haunting and honest.
Georgie Anne Geyer
Gripping...even today there stands no memorial to those who died, perhaps this beautiful remembrance can be that memorial.
Chicago Tribune - Mike Royko
A fascinating read about an American tragedy that never should be forgotten.
The New York Times - Peggy Constantine
Detailed reporting and straightforward writing...an absorbing account.
ABC News - Hal Bruno
Every parent, teacher, and school administrator should read this story of a tragic loss of life.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
A harrowing depiction of carnage, hysteria, fear, faith, heroism, and heartbreak.
A journalistic account of tragedy...haunting and honest.
Journal of American History
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On December 1, 1958, a fire at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago killed 92 pupils, most between the ages of nine and 12, and three nuns. This deeply affecting account of that tragedy by two Illinois journalists recreates the horror that destroyed a school and parish. The causes of the tragedy were manifold: outdated fire laws that permitted an edifice built before 1908 to escape a code passed in 1949 to insure safer schools; severe overcrowding; delay in reporting the fire; nuns ordering their pupils to pray rather than try to escape. Nor did municipal and archdiocesan officials help matters, their philosophy being that the fire was best forgotten; when a former student admitted to setting the blaze, they tried to conceal his confession. One positive result of the fire were the safety improvements made in 16,500 U.S. school buildings within a year. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Cowan, an independent journalist in the Chicago area, and Kuenster, a former reporter and columnist for the Chicago Daily News, fashion a gripping story from the events surrounding the tragic 1958 fire that swept through Chicago's Our Lady of the Angels elementary school. The fire, which left 92 elementary school children and three nuns dead, had profound effects on surviving students, parents, the surrounding neighborhood, and the city of Chicago. The tragedy spawned a nationwide school fire-safety program that is now often taken for granted. Cowan and Kuenster piece together a moving narrative based on the eyewitness accounts of surviving children, parents, firemen, doctors, nurses, and arson investigators. Although appropriate for any collection that serves general readers, this book is particularly recommended for Chicago-area libraries.-Robert J. Favini, Bentley Coll. Lib., Waltham, Mass.
Jennifer Henderson
In Chicago on a cold December afternoon in 1958, Our Lady of the Angels School burned ferociously; within minutes, 92 students and 3 nuns perished. Chicago journalists Cowan and Kuenster, who began to research this story independently, combined forces to write their riveting chronicle of the fire and its aftermath as survivors dealt with physical and emotional scars. Graphic descriptions of how the fire spread and was finally quelled are coupled with heroic rescues and tragic deaths. Even seasoned firefighters were horrified by the number of children they found burned or asphyxiated in their second-floor classrooms. The inquest never determined the fire's cause, although two young boys were suspected of arson. Since both were underage at the time (in Illinois, no one under 13 can be prosecuted for setting a fire) and details of their confessions were inconclusive, neither was charged. As a result of this disaster, fire codes across the country were revised to require sprinkler systems in schools. This is a devastating tale that will not soon be forgotten.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566631020
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
02/28/1996
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.04(d)

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