NIR is a joint project of regional libraries as well as a Silver Valley museum to encourage area residents to read a single title and discuss the book and related topics. NIR began in 2011 when the first title selected was “The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.
Olsen will attend programs at the Post Falls Library-Community Library Network (CLN), Tuesday, April 30, at 6 p.m.; the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, Wednesday, May 1, at 6 p.m.; Northern Pacific Railroad Depot Museum in Wallace, Thursday, May 2, 7 p.m.; and at the Hayden Library-CLN, Friday, May 3, 5 p.m.
These programs are funded, in part, by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from regional Friends of the Library groups.
Copies of the book will be available at the Well-Read Moose bookstore in Coeur d’Alene.
In connection with the NIR activities, Valerie Wade, an environmental scientist with the Panhandle Health District, will present programs on “The History of Mining – the Bunker Hill Superfund Success,” at programs at these CLN libraries: Spirit Lake, Saturday, April 6, 1-2 p.m.; Pinehurst, Monday, April 22, 6-7 p.m.; Post Falls, Tuesday, May 7, 5:30-6:30; and Hayden, Wednesday, May 8, 6-7 p.m. Her program includes photos of the Silver Valley before and after the mining cleanup.
The book will also be discussed by the Pageturners Library Book Club, on Wednesday, April 24, at 10:15 a.m. in the Community Room at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. Pageturner discussions are open to any adult reader. Copies of the book will be available to check out at the Research and Information Desk at the Coeur d’Alene library.
For nearly a century, Kellogg was home to America’s richest silver mine, Sunshine Mine. On May 2, 1972, 174 miners entered Sunshine Mine on their daily quest for silver. Aboveground, safety engineer Bob Launhardt sat in his office, filing his usual mountain of federal and state paperwork.
From his office window he could see the air shafts that fed fresh air into the mine, more than a mile below the surface. The air shafts usually emitted only tiny coughs of exhaust; unlike dangerously combustible coal mines, Sunshine was a fireproof hardrock mine, nothing but cold, dripping wet stone. There were many safety concerns at Sunshine, but fire wasn’t one of them. The men and the company swore the mine was unburnable, so when thick black smoke began pouring from one of the air shafts, Launhardt was as amazed as he was alarmed.
When the alarm sounded, less than half of the dayshift was able to return to the surface. The others were trapped underground, too deep in the mine to escape.
Scores of miners died almost immediately, frozen in place as they drilled, ate lunch, napped, or chatted. No one knew what was burning or where the smoke had come from. But in one of the deepest corners of the mine, Ron Flory and Tom Wilkinson were left alone and in total darkness, surviving off a trickle of fresh air from a borehole.
The miners’ families waited and prayed, while Launhardt, reeling from the shock of losing so many men on his watch, refused to close up the mine or give up the search until he could be sure that no one was left underground.
In “The Deep Dark,” Olsen looks beyond the intensely suspenseful story of the fire and rescue to the wounded heart of Kellogg, a quintessential company town that has never recovered from its loss. A vivid and haunting chapter in the history of working-class America, this is one of the great rescue stories of the 20th century.
Throughout his career, Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.
A No. 1 New York Times, Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, 17 novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.
The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.
In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People, Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.
“The Deep Dark” was named Idaho Book of the Year by the Idaho Library Association and “Starvation Heights” was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, “Envy,” was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival. “The Boy She Left Behind” was a finalist for the International Thriller Writers (ITW) award for best YA novel in 2018.
Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Wash., with his wife and twin daughters.