American Fire

American Fire

Love, Arson, and Life in A Vanishing Land

eBook - 2017
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One hundred years ago Accomack was the richest rural county in the nation. Slowly it's been drained of its industry-- agriculture-- as well as its wealth and population. The arsons started on a November night in 2012 and didn't stop for months. The people waited to see which abandoned building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up; volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The culprits were galvanized by a surprising love story built on tight budgets and simple pleasures, in a land half gutted before the fires even began.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Liveright Publishing Corporation, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781631490521
Characteristics: 1 online resource (255 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations


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LPL_LizS Nov 03, 2017

A fascinating look into the daily lives of citizens of rural Accomack County, Virginia who are trying to deal with a devastating string of crimes. Hesse captures the arson in great journalistic detail, weaving a lot of information into a compelling narrative. These fires illuminate the deep struggles of a small community with a dying economy, where everyone is just looking for a better life.

Oct 31, 2017

Reads as one would expect since it's a journalist's expanded writings of a featured crime story. Well-told tale of a Virginia county forced to adjust life to a never-ending series of arson fires that take a tremendous toll on all its residents, including the arsonists.

Oct 22, 2017

The story isn't just about the many fires but the person(s) responsible for setting them. What is most amazing is the "why". It's a twisted and sad story but compelling.

Cynthia_N Aug 23, 2017

It was astonishing to read how many fires were set before the culprits were caught. There were people camping at abandoned home sites and cameras set up but it still took months before they were able to catch the guilty parties. Good read!

AL_KATI May 11, 2017

Sort of like "Hillbilly Elegry" but with arson. Great if you like true crime and social history. Read in a single night.


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