Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dig deep into history

Express Staff Writer

?The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine" by Gregg Olsen. Crown. $24.95. 321 pgs.

As part of the Pass Mine show currently on exhibition at The Sun Valley Center for Arts, Seattle author Gregg Olsen will read and discuss his seventh book, "The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine." The book explores the human toll of Idaho's worst disaster. The book event will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at The Center in Hailey.

Olsen, an investigative reporter for more than two decades and recipient of numerous awards, chronicles the worst hard-rock mining disaster in modern U.S. history. On May 2, 1972, a fire broke out in Kellogg, Idaho's, Sunshine Mine, among the maze of shafts and tunnels more than a mile deep. Sunshine was a hard-rock silver mine blasted from stone, not flammable coal, so no one paid much attention to the smoke. The miners kept working since they were paid by daily output. By the time the severity of the problem became known, no one in management was available, and no one had authority or wanted to assume the responsibility for ordering a costly, official evacuation. Ultimately 91 miners were killed.

The book delves into the characters and community of Kellogg.

"Olson is a crime writer so it's fast passed and well-researched," said The Center Director of Education and Humanities Britt Udsen. "It's a really good suspenseful story."

While he is in the Wood River Valley Olson will visit the Carey School and the Wood River Middle School.

Publishers Weekly compared The Deep Dark to "The Perfect Storm." Kirkus says the book "puts the human faces of dozens of miners, their kinfolk, on a grave mining disaster."

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