Author Night with Doug “VB Goudie on Nantucket’s Great Fire – May17

Doug "VB" Goudie author night flyer
(click to enlarge)

Next week, the Southborough Library is hosting another Author Night. This one features local talk radio’s Doug “VB” Goudie. He’ll be talking about his book “Ack in Ashes: Nantucket’s Great Fire of 1846”.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 17th at 7:00 pm. The focus is the devastating fire and the people who helped the island survive it.

According to the book’s introduction, the author decided to research and write the book when he find to fail any published on the topic that fascinated him. Below are more details on the book and author from Amazon.


On the night of July 13th, 1846, the island of Nantucket went to bed after another busy day as a bustling one-industry town which was known throughout the world. On the morning of July 14th, 1846, Nantucket woke up to find that it was all gone, and everything the island had become up until that point was destroyed overnight by a devastating fire. Nantucket’s success in the 1800s had depended upon two main forces: one, Nantucket’s stubborn independent spirit, and two, whale oil. And yet, it was those same two factors that would play such major roles in the island’s Great Fire of 1846. This book tells the story of that fateful fire, and it also tells the stories of many of the men who would help see the island through its devastation.

The island may have been small but these men were not; they were men who achieved great success prior to the fire, and they were men who would demonstrate greatness in the decisions they made for Nantucket following the fire. While many cities in the United States experienced great fires in the 1800s, none faced the challenges that Nantucket did in trying to recover and rebuild from its near-total devastation. Remember, there was an ocean between Nantucket and ANY help whatsoever, and time was of the essence as the island tried desperately to survive. But survive it did, and this book tells the story of how it all happened, warts and all.

About the author:

Vb has spent much of his career in talk radio in Boston, first as a sidekick on the Howie Carr Show (Carr thinks this book is too good to have been written by VB), then as a host on VB’s Pleasure Pit, and now as a host on the Morning Show on WRKO. He also spent eleven plus years in television as a commentator on the Fox 25 Morning News show in Boston. He is a lifelong visitor to Nantucket, and he has always wanted to read a book about Nantucket’s Great Fire of 1846. Although a patient man, he could only wait so long, and since no one else seemed willing to take on the challenge, he finally decided to write the book himself. And as if having an ocean between him and the source material wasn’t challenging enough, he also wrote this book while trying to help his wife raise three kids (all under five!) and train a new puppy! He hopes to sell enough books so that he can finally buy a place on Nantucket.

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