Presentation: A Darkness Lit by Heroes

Banner for Doug Ammons' presentation, A Darkness Lit by Heroes, at This House of Books, a community-owned independent bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, Montana

Doug Ammons returns to This House of Books on Friday, March 16 at 5:30, this time with a multimedia presentation that brings history to life.

The Great Falls Tribune recently ranked Doug Ammons’s book, A Darkness Lit by Heroes among the top ten Montana books of 2017. They describe the true story told in the book as “one of Montana's most compelling sagas.” At one level, the story told is of the Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine disaster of 1917 in Butte, Montana. It was among the very worst mining catastrophes anywhere. Ever. One hundred sixty-eight men died.

The real story Ammons tells, though, is the human response to what happened. Ammons himself writes: "We find that when all that sustains us is gradually stripped away–our light, water, and even the air we breathe–that something profoundly human rises up out of the darkness. We call it courage, we can call it will, we call it heroism, but it is our love for each other and the bonds between us that light even the greatest darkness.” These are the reasons that 240 men lived.

Based on meticulous research, including 600 pages of eyewitness testimony that had not seen the light of day for 90 years, Ammons has been able to reconstruct where people were, what they were doing, and even what they said to one another as they responded.

Ammons has a presentation that combines reading with imagery and slides. A very large audience at the Montana Historical Society, as well as a highly knowledgeable audience in Butte, where this is personal history for many families, offered praise for the production.

Ammons’ background, with a doctorate in experimental psychology, and a strong background in mathematics and physics allowed him to understand what happened at the Speculator on both an engineering and a human level. Ammons is also a world-class adventure sportsman, a background that helps him to understand what happens when we stretch human endurance, skill, and survival.

Image of cover of Doug Ammon's A Darkness Lit by Heroes, available from This House of Books, a community-owned indie bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaA Darkness Lit by Heroes: The Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine Disaster of 1917

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Water Nymph Press, Missoula, Montana (2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692900420

Call us at 406-534-1133 to obtain your copy.


Event date: 
Friday, March 16, 2018 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
This House of Books
224 North Broadway
Billings, MT 59101