Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Friday, August 24, 2018

A preview of hell...

It's been smoky in the Pacific Northwest for the last week thanks to more than 300 fires raging out of control in British Columbia. The wind is finally blowing the smoke away but for a while there, the air quality was worse than it is in Beijing, giving everyone dry and red eyes.

It struck me that this might be a good time to share my list of favorite fire-related books. Everyone always points to Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean, who also wrote A River Runs Through It, but I prefer Dennis Smith's Report From Engine Company 82, which came out more than 40 years ago, but is still available. If you were a fan of Denis Learay's Rescue Me, you'll see similarities in this book.

John Maclean (son of Norman) has written several books about fires, but his best is probably Fire on the Mountain, about a fire known variously as the South Canyon Fire and the Storm King Mountain Fire. (I'd have gone with Storm King Mountain--so incredibly evocative.) This was a particularly deadly fire in that it killed an entire elite team of 'hot shots" who'd been dropped into the area. The lone survivor of that event has written his own book.

An even deadlier fire, the Granite Mountain Fire near Prescott, AZ claimed 19 firefighters and is the subject of a movie called No Exit, starring Josh Brolin.

Two other memoirs that are gripping:  Bob Donbrowski's 38 Years: A Detroit Firefighter's Memoir  and Nick Brunaciini's B-Shifter.

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