Danger, Death, and Disaster: In the Crowsnest Pass Mines, 1902–1928


190 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55238-132-3
DDC 971.23'4




Reviewed by A.A. Den Otter

A.A. den Otter is a professor of history at the Memorial University of
Newfoundland in St. John’s. He is the author of The Philosophy of


In mining communities, death and coal mining are almost synonymous.
Danger, Death, and Disaster offers a sociological, psychological, and
folkloric examination of the Crowsnest Pass mines in the early 1900s.
The focus is on the strategies workers and their families developed in
order to cope with the numerous accidents that maimed or killed.

The people of the Crowsnest employed a range of rituals and behaviours
to help them deal with tragedy. Because they were so common, accidents
bonded families together. Deaths were institutionalized in unions,
brotherhoods, and fraternal societies. Churches assisted and comforted
families. The media turned large-scale disasters and mass funerals into
a public spectacle. Lastly, the author looks at memorials and
gravestones in Crowsnest Pass cemeteries, which serve as powerful
reminders of the culture and values of both the deceased and their

Buckley’s compellingly written study is enhanced by a number of
photographs that illustrate public funerals and some of the elaborate
memorials to individual victims of accidents.


Buckley, Karen., “Danger, Death, and Disaster: In the Crowsnest Pass Mines, 1902–1928,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14424.