Black fire: [the true story of the original Tom Sawyer--and of the mysterious fires that baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco]

Book Cover
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Crown Publishers,
Pub. Date:
1st ed.
When twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco Daily Morning Call reporter Mark Twain met Tom Sawyer at a local bathhouse in 1863, he was seeking a subject for his first novel. As Twain steamed, played cards, and drank beer with Sawyer (a volunteer firefighter, customs inspector, and local hero responsible for having saved ninety lives at sea), he had second thoughts about Shirley Tempest, his proposed book about a local girl firefighter, and began to envision a novel of wider scope. Twain learned that a dozen years earlier the then-eighteen-year-old New York-born Sawyer had been a "Torch Boy," one of the youths who raced ahead of the volunteer firemen's hand-drawn engines at night carrying torches to light the way, always aware that a single spark could reduce the all-wood city of San Francisco to ashes in an instant. At that time a mysterious serial arsonist known by some as "The Lightkeeper" was in the process of burning San Francisco to the ground six times in eighteen months-the most disastrous and costly series of fires ever experienced by any American metropolis.Black Fire is the most thorough and accurate account of Sawyer's relationship with Mark Twain and of the six devastating incendiary fires that baptized one of the modern world's favorite cities. Set amid a scorched landscape of burning roads, melting iron warehouses, exploding buildings, and deadly gangs who extorted and ruled by fear, it includes the never-before-told stories of Sawyer's heroism during the sinking of the steamship Independence and the crucial role Sawyer and the Torch Boys played in solving the mystery of the Lightkeeper. Drawing on archival sources such as actual San Francisco newspaper interviews with Sawyer and the handwritten police depositions of the arrest of the Lightkeeper, bestselling author Robert Graysmith vividly portrays the gritty, corrupt, and violent world of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, overrun with gunfighters, hooligans, hordes of gold prospectors, crooked politicians, and vigilantes. By chronicling how Sawyer took it upon himself to investigate, expose, and stop the arsonist, Black Fire details-for the first time-Sawyer's remarkable life and illustrates why Twain would later feel compelled to name his iconic character after his San Francisco buddy when he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
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Grouped Work ID c206c0f8-0452-117f-8e78-514340cdce28
Grouping Title black fire the true story of the original tom sawyer and of the mysterious fires that baptized gold
Grouping Author graysmith robert
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-07-04 20:02:02PM
Last Indexed 2019-07-22 04:24:49AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Graysmith, Robert.
author Graysmith, Robert.
author2-role Graysmith, Robert., hoopla digital.
author_display Graysmith, Robert
available_at_longmont Longmont Public Library
detailed_location_longmont Longmont Adult Nonfiction
display_description First biography of the little-known real-life Tom Sawyer (a friend of Mark Twain during his brief tenure as a California newspaper reporter), told through a harrowing account of Sawyer's involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth century San Francisco.
format_category_longmont Books
format_longmont Book
id c206c0f8-0452-117f-8e78-514340cdce28
isbn 030772056, 9780307720566, 9780307720580, 9781452629254
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itype_longmont hardcover book
last_indexed 2019-07-22T10:24:49.554Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_longmont 979.404 GRA
owning_library_longmont Longmont Pulblic Library
owning_location_longmont Longmont Public Library
primary_isbn 9780307720580
publishDate 2012
record_details hoopla:MWT10755164|eAudiobook|Audio Books|Unabridged.|English|Tantor Audio ,|2012.|1 online resource (1 audio file (720 min.)) : digital., ils:.b24249142|Book|Books|1st ed.|English|Crown Publishers,|c2012.|x, 268 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Adventure and adventurers -- California -- San Francisco -- Biography, Arson -- California -- San Francisco -- History -- 19th century, Fire fighters -- California -- San Francisco -- Biography, Fires -- California -- San Francisco -- History -- 19th century, San Francisco (Calif.) -- Biography, San Francisco (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century, Sawyer, Tom (Fictitious character), Sawyer, Tom, -- 1832-1906, Twain, Mark, -- 1835-1910 -- Friends and associates, Twain, Mark, -- 1835-1910 -- Sources
title_display Black fire : the true story of the original Tom Sawyer--and of the mysterious fires that baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco
title_full Black fire : [the true story of the original Tom Sawyer--and of the mysterious fires that baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco] [electronic resource] / Robert Graysmith, Black fire : the true story of the original Tom Sawyer--and of the mysterious fires that baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco / written and illustrated by Robert Graysmith
title_short Black fire :
title_sub [the true story of the original Tom Sawyer--and of the mysterious fires that baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco]
topic_facet Adventure and adventurers, Arson, Fire fighters, Fires, Friends and associates, History, Sawyer, Tom, Sawyer, Tom (Fictitious character), Twain, Mark