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The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

The Great Fire (1995)

by Jim Murphy

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This book is a narrative retelling of the Chicago Fire of 1871. It talks about how destructive it was because the towns were nearly all wooden. Many people were left homeless and it talks about specific instances and how it affected people. There are also pictures of what it looked like after it hit.
  kiahbremframe | Mar 18, 2017 |
The Great Fire of 1871 was one of the most disastrous events in American History. Chicago was burned to the ground, and no one believed the city would ever rise again. This story is depicted by people who lived during the fire in Chicago, and the panic and hardship it took to rebuild their city.
This is an incredible book! It is great for teaching about one of the most important events in American History. It is full of detail and real life connections to people who experienced the fire first hand. ( )
  sehuff | Sep 27, 2016 |
This book is a narrative retelling of the Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed wooden towns and cities and left nearly 100,000 people homeless. It has personal accounts with historical research and pictures of what it looked like at this point in time.
I didn’t know much about the Great Fire of 1871 before I started reading this story. It was very engaging, with pictures and a story that was easy enough to follow, but also very interesting that made me want to keep reading.
Extension Ideas:
1) Students would be able to write an ‘account’ or what they would do if they had been in one of the homes or towns that burned down.
2) I can have the class read the book in sections as we go through early history of the colonies.
  GSoto95 | Apr 15, 2015 |
The author approached this story from a chronological, rather than a thematic, point of view. As such was the case, they placed their focus primarily upon the events of the blaze as they occurred from the first spark in the O'Leary Barn until the aftermath of the conflagration as the embers still smoldered. To progress the story, the author relied upon the personal accounts of several eyewitnesses as well as statements by more well known individuals such as contemporary politicians and intellectuals. This book is interesting because it depicts life prior to the world of Chicago as the "White City" and the subsequent World Fair. It also reveals the undercurrent of class tension which would come rushing to the surface immediately after the blaze. ( )
  CharlesHollis | Feb 1, 2015 |
  mrsforrest | Oct 19, 2014 |
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For Janet and Arthur--good neighbors and good friends--and for their son Lucas, whose smile can light up a room.
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The fire that swept through the heart of Chicago began on Sunday night, October 8, 1871.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
An excellent and gripping account that follows the Chicago Fire (1871) through the perspective of several survivors in different parts of the city. Supported by illustrations and photographs from primary sources, as well as a series of maps showing the spread of the fire.

Vocabulary level would be appropriate for upper-intermediate readers, but the density of the text makes it a better resource for readers in junior high and up.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439203074, Paperback)

Jim Murphy's Newbery Honor Book available for the first time in paperback.

"Vivid firsthand descriptions by persons who lived through the 1871 Chicago fire are woven into a gripping account... Absorbing and riveting reading." The Horn Book, starred review

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Follows the events and aftermath of the great fire of 1871, which virtually destroyed the city of Chicago. Suggested level: secondary.

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