The Great Firestorm of 1894 is always a hot topic in Minnesota. Hinckley historians, as well as those who know the former logging center primarily as the home of Tobie’s, will be captivated by Daniel James Brown’s Under a Flaming Sky (Lyons Press, $22.95). The story of the crematory ï¬res that converged on the town, trapping some 2,000 people, has been told before, of course, but never so masterfully. Perhaps-familiar accounts of the 200-foot-high ï¬‚ames and such heroes as porter John Blair and telegraph operator Olive Brown are sparked with historical and scientific context. (Who knew forest management could be so interesting?) Brown’s great-grandfather died in the ï¬restorm; his grandfather and great-grandmother escaped on a burning train.
MORE MINNESOTA MAYHEM: Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods by Cary J. Griffith (Borealis, $24.95)