On a terrible day in December 1958, one of the deadliest fires in American history took the lives of ninety-two children and three nuns at Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago. The tragedy shocked the nation, tore apart a community with grief and anger, left many families physically and psychologically scarred for life, and prompted a mystery unresolved to this day. It also led to a complete overhaul of fire safety standards for American schools. The story of that fire was eloquently told ten years ago by John Kuenster and David Cowan in their best-selling book To Sleep with the Angels. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the fire, John Kuenster returns to talk with firemen, parents, children, reporters, clergy, school administrators, and others who were in some way connected with the disaster. Together their thoughts and feelings about their experience, still vivid and tender after a half-century, make Remembrances of the Angels a moving and often tearful book.
John Kuenster, a former staff writer and columnist with the Chicago Daily News, and editor of The Columbia, has also written To Sleep with the Angels (with David Cowan) and Heartbreakers, and has edited The Best of Baseball Digest. He lives in Evergreen Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.