Cover image for 47 down : the 1922 Argonaut Gold Mine Disaster
47 down : the 1922 Argonaut Gold Mine Disaster
Mace, O. Henry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 273 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TN423.C2 M24 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Advance Praise for 47 Down

"A gripping mystery story: Will the men trapped deep underground in a mine by fire be reached by rescuers in time? And why do these mining disasters occur, and reoccur, in our nation's history?"
-Gerald M. Stern, author of The Buffalo Creek Disaster

"This is as much a story about journalism as it is about a mine disaster. Women reporters assigned to chronicle the human side were called 'sob sisters' for their ability to evoke emotion with words. O. Henry Mace pays tribute to the tenacious and creative Ruth Finney, whose storytelling skills framed the story for decades after her passing and established her as one of the early giants among women in journalism."
-Eleanor Clift, contributing editor, Newsweek

"Most disaster books are predictable and dry, but O. Henry Mace's 47 Down, the story of the 1922 Argonaut mining tragedy, is, quite simply, one of the best disaster books to come along in years. Mace's taut, lyrical, intelligent prose combined with his thorough research and his film director's eye for detail and focus make 47 Down as compelling as The Perfect Storm and as memorable as Young Men and Fire. Mace takes the reader inside the Argonaut mine shaft and doesn't let go. This is a necessary book."
-Denise Gess, coauthor of Firestorm at Peshtigo

Author Notes

O. Henry Mace has written on western history and has put together collector's guides on both early photographs and Victoriana

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This volume details the fire in the main shaft of a Jackson, Calif., Argonaut gold mine, which trapped 47 miners 4,650 feet below ground in the summer of 1922. It took rescuers three weeks to get to where the miners were trapped by the fire as family members and friends, co-workers, the press and countless Americans awaited word of the foregone conclusion. Mace researched the mine fire for seven years; his dedication pays off in a well-rounded examination of the fire and the mining industry. Even without coming to a conclusion about which rescue plan would have given the miners the best chance of survival, he thoroughly explores the scientific and structural implications of each course of action complete with diagrams, technical data and testimony from those involved. Though Mace never really steps outside the facts long enough to capture the experience of the trapped miners, his intimate portraits of the miners' families, mine employees and, especially, journalist Ruth Finney, explore the countless ways the mining disaster changed those who were close to it. Mace also smoothly connects the fire and the mining town of Jackson with bigger American and world affairs like the war in Europe, immigration, Prohibition, advances in communication and the growth of women's rights. Mace may not have hit the "Mother Lode," but his tireless digging has certainly uncovered a forgotten nugget of Californian and American history. Photos. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1 The Greatest Fearp. 1
2 Like the Frames of a Motion Picturep. 15
3 Their Worst Enemyp. 30
4 A Meeting of Mindsp. 43
5 The Cream of the Cropp. 58
6 In Her Dark, Frightened Eyesp. 79
7 Disappointments and Conflictsp. 103
8 Undercover Workp. 121
9 Breakthroughp. 136
10 The Hand of Fatep. 155
11 They Have Risenp. 172
12 Bound for the Same Placep. 185
13 Pointing Fingersp. 202
14 The Cause and the Costp. 218
15 A Dynamic Conclusionp. 236
The Forty-Sevenp. 253
Bibliographyp. 259
Indexp. 261