Devil In The North Woods: A Novel Based On The 1908 Metz, Michigan, Wildfire
What would you do if a wildfire swept through your area without warning?
In October 1908, a wildfire swept through northeast Michigan and consumed 900 homes and two million acres of farms and forest. Despite the valiant efforts of the farmers, lumbermen, and shopkeepers, only Lake Huron could quench the flames. With no fire watch towers, spotting aircraft, telephones, or organized firefighting and only limited telegraph, warnings were too few and too late.
Devil in the North Woods accurately depicts the fire's genesis, growth, and aftermath. The story's real-life protagonist, 10-year-old Henry Hardies, survived the fire but family did not. Relying on Henry's personal recollections and author Walt Shiel's faithful recreation of time and place, the book vividly brings Henry's ordeal to life.
Devil in the North Woods contrasts the terror of nature's destruction with a chronicle of family, love, sorrow, and recovery. The story leaves the reader buoyed by faith in the resilience of the human spirit and belief in love's ability to germinate amid the ashes of ruin.
Includes a map and six historical photos.
"This is first rate writing that at times will leave you wondering whether it is fact or fiction but in a manner that does not deceive or talk down to the reader. Highly Recommended." -Charles M. Noble, Amazon Vine reviewer
"Walt Shiel takes his readers into a vivid turn-of-the century adventure through Devil in the North Woods. This is a historically accurate account of a 1908 fire that destroyed the town of Metz, Michigan. Tragically, many of the town's citizens perished whether they tried to fight the fire or escape. Through their trials, Shiel highlights how different life was in the early 1900s, with horse-drawn transportation and one-room schoolhouses the norm. His account of the fire provides a drama that is entertaining, but not for the squeamish. Therein lies the power of this book, Shiel's writing is so visceral it will cause the reader to blanch, but then turn the page for more." -Military Writers Society of America
"The terror of the fire and the way it impacts these families and threads, cause you to lose yourselves in the words on the pages, which flip all too fast...This is a story that you feel in your gut, and the lessons to be learned are on every page. " -Clifford Feightner, author of Views from Sandhausen
"This is more than the story of an out-of-control wildfire; it is the story of everyday heroes and the way they reclaim their lives after tragedy." -Danielle Feliciano, ReaderViews.com
"I stayed up till 3AM three nights in a row, exhausted but unable to put this book down. And now that I've finished it, I'm sad that it's done, and I wish there was a movie based on this book, or this historical event" -Amazon customer review by M. Staller
"Devil in the North Woods will forever live on in hearts and minds of all who read it." Amazon customer review by jimtown
- Author: Walt Shiel
- Publication Date: 2005-05-30
- Publisher: Slipdown Mountain Pubns
- Product Group: Book
- Manufacturer: Slipdown Mountain Pubns
- Binding: Paperback, 246 pages
- Item Dimensions:
- Dimensions: 598L x 55W x 902H
- Weight: 84
- Package Dimensions:
- Dimensions: 890L x 590W x 70H
- Weight: 90
- List Price: $14.95
- ISBN: 0974655317
- ASIN: 0974655317