POSTED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 5:20pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 5:29pm
Kilgore, TX (Kilgore College) — Author David M. Brown will speak next month at Kilgore College about his new book on the New London School explosion, “Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History.”
The presentation and book signing is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Randolph C. Watson Library on the Kilgore campus.
Brown will focus on how the book came to be, highlights of the extensive research that made it possible, and the need to preserve the story of the New London School explosion as a part of East Texas history that led to safer schools and buildings throughout the world.
The natural gas explosion at the New London School killed approximately 293 people, 269 of whom were children.
As a result of the tragedy, communities in the United States and around the globe adopted regulations that require an additive in odorless natural gas of an ingredient causing the rotten-egg smell that people now identify as a warning of danger.
His talk and book signing in Kilgore is part of a two-week agenda discussing the book at libraries and other events in East Texas.
“The publication of Gone at 3:17 and other recent books about the explosion helped increase modern awareness of this horrible disaster, but the great majority of Americans living today still have no idea it ever happened,” said Brown, a longtime journalist and former East Texas resident who now lives in Pittsburgh, Penn.
“My hope is that the legacy of the hundreds of students and teachers who died on March 18, 1937, will someday be so embedded in our national consciousness that it is never forgotten and continues to help keep our schools safe for future generations. It is one of the best examples there is of how critical it is that we know and understand history lessons that might help us avoid tragic mistakes of the past.”
About the book:
Gone at 3:17, co-authored by Brown and Michael Wereschagin, also of Pittsburgh, was published in 2012 by Potomac Books, Inc. The narrative history has received high praise from a wide range of analysts, critics and readers.
“Gone at 3:17 is the definitive study of the 1937 New London school explosion,” said historian and author David Welky of the University of Central Arkansas. “This engrossing narrative of sorrow and survival burrows deep inside one of the greatest disasters in American history.”
Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calls Gone “compelling nonfiction. The detail is incredible. The story line is gripping. The writing is stellar. The chapter on the explosion will make you cry.”
“This mesmerizing book reads like a novel not only because of their lucid prose but also as the result of their painstaking research and respect for the truth,” says Chuck Plunkett of the Denver Post. “Gone at 3:17 serves as a stunningly gracious tribute to the victims and survivors.”
About the author:
A native Mississippian, Brown began his newspaper career with the Memphis Commercial Appeal in 1970. He later worked for United Press International in Jackson, Miss, as editorial writer and columnist for the South Mississippi Sun and Biloxi-Gulfport Daily-Herald, and as a reporter for newspapers in Texas and Pennsylvania.
He started research on the New London School explosion while living in East Texas in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where he was a correspondent for the Longview News-Journal. He conducted numerous interviews with survivors including students and teachers, rescue workers, and others to gain extensive insights about the disaster, the people who lived through it, and those lost.
Most recently, Brown was a government and political reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review from 1994 through January 2009. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
For more information, contact David Brown at (412) 337-4573.