Finding The Devil: Darkness, Light, and the Untold Story of the Chilean Mine Disaster

Share Article

A New Byliner Original by Two-Time National Magazine Award Winner William Langewiesche

News Image
A New Byliner Original by Two-Time National Magazine Award Winner William Langewiesche

Internationally acclaimed journalist William Langewiesche is publishing a new e-short today, Finding the Devil (Byliner, $2.99), about the 2010 mine disaster and rescue in Chile that riveted the world for ten weeks. The long ordeal of those thirty-three men trapped under half a mile of rock became one of the greatest survival stories of our time. But few of us knew what really happened above and below the ground at that treacherous mine near Copiapó, Chile.

In his extraordinary report on the disaster, Langewiesche brings a cinematic eye for detail to bear on the many stories within the story. First there were the men, trapped 2,200 feet below the surface, where they diligently rationed canned peaches as they waited in the dark for rescue. There was the well-intentioned minister of mining, who wanted only to bring the men back alive; a Chilean president perhaps hoping to use the opportunity to bolster his approval ratings; rescuers flown in from around the world, with competing plans of attack. There was the adventurous Hungarian family that built the mine, and the owners who cut corners to keep the business alive. And there was the incessant cry of the pneumatic hammers used to bore half a mile through bedrock, hoping blindly to reach their target.

Finally, there was the tense seven-week period during which families waited to see their loved ones again, the elaborate preparations for the rescue ceremony, the psychologists who prepared the miners for the celebrity status that awaited them on the surface. As the decisive moment came near, Langewiesche writes, “a parade of characters kept showing up at the scene uninvited: priests and preachers, nuns, jugglers, Mormons, mimes, theater troupes, poets, long-distance walkers, a human billboard, and four Uruguayan survivors of the Andean airplane crash described in Alive.”

Widely considered to be one of our era’s greatest narrative journalists, Langewiesche has been hailed by the Washington Post as a “sharp observer and gifted stylist whose sentences often have a kind of poetic precision.” In Finding the Devil, he uses that precision to unveil truths about human nature during a crisis, and to ask the provocative question: What is heroism, and what are mere heroics?

About the Author: William Langewiesche is the international correspondent for Vanity Fair and the author of several books, including The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor; The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime; Cutting for Sign, about politics along the U.S.-Mexico border; Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert; Aloft: Thoughts on the Experience of Flight; Fly by Wire, about the successful landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River; and American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Langewiesche has won two National Magazine Awards and has been a finalist nine times.

About Byliner: Byliner commissions and publishes original stories written to be read in a single sitting. Bestselling Byliner titles include Amy Tan’s Rules for Virgins, Margaret Atwood’s Positron, Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit, Ann Patchett’s The Getaway Car, Nick Hornby’s Everyone’s Reading Bastard, and Buzz Bissinger’s After Friday Night Lights. The companion website,, gives readers personalized access to an unmatched library of fiction and nonfiction, handpicked by our editors. On Byliner, readers can discover new writers, explore, save, and share great stories, connect with other readers, and even engage directly with their favorite writers.

Finding the Devil: Darkness, Light, and the Untold Story of the Chilean Mine Disaster is available for $2.99 as a Kindle Single at Amazon, a Quick Read at Apple’s iBookstore, a Nook Snap at, a Short Read at Kobo, and at Google Play. For an Advance Reading Copy or to schedule an interview with William Langewiesche, please contact Clare Hertel at clare(at)byliner(dot)com; 505-474-6783.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Clare Hertel
(505) 474-6783
Email >
Visit website