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On a warm spring day in June of 1914, two hundred and thirty-five men went down into the depths of the Hillcrest mine.  Only forty-six would make it out alive by day's end.

The Devils' Breath, the fateful tale of the worst mining disaster in Canadian History, the Hillcrest Mine explosion, has finally been captured in astounding detail.  Author Steve Hanon provides a deft examination of the coal industry in a province just on the cusp of entering the Great War, with startling recollections of heroism and human courage in the face of overwhelming calamity.


The Devil's Breath weaves a diverse tapestry of the owners and workers at Hillcrest, illuminating possible causes for the disaster and demonstrating the lasting effects that it had on those who survived, while also educating readers on the techniques used to wrench coal from the bowels of the earth during the period.

While only ruins of the original mine now remain in Alberta's still-scarred Crowsnest Pass region,
The Devil's Breath brings this sadly-forgotten chapter of the province's history back into the light.  Includes thirty-four archival photos, mining blueprints, a timeline of events and a glossary of mining terms.

The Devil's Breath: The Story of the Hillcrest Mine Disaster of 1914

Excluding Sales Tax
  • Steve Hanon

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