On a warm spring day in June of 1914, two hundred and thirty-five men went down into the depths of the Hillcrest mine found in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass. Only forty-six would make it out alive. The largest coal-mining disaster in Canadian history, the fateful tale of the Hillcrest Mine is finally captured in startling detail by Stephen Hanon.
A deft examination of the coal mining industry in an Alberta just on the cusp of the Great War, The Devil’s Breath is a startling recollection of heroism and human courage in the face of overwhelming calamity. Hanon examines the history of the mine itself, its owners and workers, possible causes for the disaster and the lasting effects that it had on those who lived, while educating readers on the techniques used to wrench coal from the bowels of the earth.
Praise for The Devil's Breath
"Superbly written, "The Devil's Breath: The Story of the Hillcrest Mine Disaster of 1914" is highly recommended and informative reading."
~ Midwest Book Review
"Well-illustrated, written with an eye for detail, and comprehensive, The Devil's Breath is not just a disaster story, but a history of Canada's coal industry and an invitation to go deep under the ground where calamity awaits."
~ Andrew Armitage, Owen Sound Sun Times
"Hanon did not set out to write a new story set in the context of Hillcrest, but to clear away the coal dust and give us a good look at the original story. That he does admirably."
~ Lorne Daniel, The Coastal Spectator
"Hanon provides a thorough account that is informative while including gripping tales of human courage."
~ Nelle Oosterom, Canada's History