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This book took me a while to finish----and not just because it is almost 500 pages. I took my time, because THE GREAT FIRE educated me in a lot of ways I was not expecting, and I wanted to savor the experience.
What Lou Ureneck has done is take us into an event that many of us (including myself) had no clue about and made us live the experience. That is not an easy thing to do, but because he humanized it by giving us the backstory into the key players during that time it made it real.
Asa Jennings is someone who I had never heard of before reading THE GREAT FIRE. Now because of Ureneck I can't forget him. He realized and embraced his purpose in life and was willing to do all he could to be of help to others. Isn't that a great example for us all? He did this not only in the face of danger for himself but his family. There were individuals like Dr. Lovejoy that also put it all on the line, and because of her others were given home in the face of insurmountable difficulties and danger.
This book is about the burning of Smyrna, Turkey and what led up to it, but it is also about the resilience of the human spirit and how even in the darkness there are always beacons of light used to light the way. THE GREAT FIRE reminds us why we can't give up, even when we can't see the way out of the troubles we face. It also reminds us that if we can't FIND the light we should strive to BE the light, not just for ourselves but for those who we might encourage.
THE GREAT FIRE is one of those books you will find yourself thinking about long after you finish.