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.