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Firehouse Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (May 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401300057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401300050
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thirteen men from Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse initially responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; only one survived. Located near Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the firehouse was known for its rich tradition and strong leadership. This gripping book details the actions of the 13 men on that horrific day and the heartbreaking aftermath--the search for the bodies, the efforts of their families to deal with overwhelming grief, and the guilt and conflicting emotions of the surviving members of the firehouse. The book is also about the men themselves and the tight bond and sense of duty and honor that held them together. David Halberstam does a masterful job of illustrating the inner workings of a firehouse, with its traditions, routines, and complex social structure that in many ways resembles a "vast extended second family--rich, warm, joyous, and supportive, but on occasion quite edgy as well, with all the inevitable tensions brought on by so many forceful men living so closely together over so long a period of time." He also explains why so many men choose this life despite the high risk, relatively low pay, and physical and emotional demands of the job.

Halberstam and his family live three and a half blocks from Engine 40, Ladder 35, and he writes of these 13 men in such a loving and precise way that he could be describing members of his own clan. Deeply felt and emotional, Firehouse is a tribute to these decent, honorable, and heroic men and a celebration of their selflessness not only as firefighters but also as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and friends. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

Halberstam's gripping chronicle of a company of Manhattan firemen on September 11 is moving without ever becoming grossly sentimental an impressive achievement, though readers have come to expect as much from the veteran historian and journalist (author, most recently, of War in a Time of Peace). Engine 40, Ladder 35, a firehouse near Lincoln Center, sent 13 men to the World Trade Center, 12 of whom died. Through interviews with surviving colleagues and family members, Halberstam pieces together the day's events and offers portraits of the men who perished from rookie Mike D'Auria, a former chef who liked to read about Native American culture, to Captain Frank Callahan, greatly respected by the men for his dedication and exacting standards, even if he was rather distant and laconic (when someone performed badly at a fire he would call them into his office and simply give him "The Look," a long, excruciating stare: "Nothing needed to be said the offender was supposed to know exactly how he had transgressed, and he always did"). The book also reveals much about firehouse culture the staunch code of ethics, the good-natured teasing, the men's loyalty to each other in matters large and small (one widow recalls that when she and her husband were planning home renovations, his colleagues somehow found out and showed up unasked to help, finishing the job in record time). Though he doesn't go into much detail about the technical challenges facing the fire department that day, Halberstam does convey the sheer chaos at the site and, above all, the immensity of the loss for fellow firefighters.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has chronicled the social, political, and athletic life of America in such bestselling books as The Fifties, The Best and the Brightest, and The Amateurs. He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

As always with Halberstam this is is very well written book.
MJR reader
Halberstam does a great job of personalizing the September 11, 2001 tragedy by the portrayal of 13 brave New York firefighters of Engine 40, Ladder 35.
Kevin M Quigg
For this reason alone, the book's mere 200 pages are well worth the short time it takes to read.
Randy Keehn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I would guess that I am not the only one guilty of taking firemen for granted before September 11. Sure, I knew that in between relaxing at the firehouse, they got to go out and have some excitement, and that they did good work, and it was all commendable in a very manly way. But with all the losses to the New York Fire Department (343 killed), and the vigil over the site of the World Trade Center as their bodies were finally unearthed, and the heartfelt mourning of their brothers at one funeral after another, my admiration for fireman has increased to something around the level it had when I was a kid and like all kids I wanted to be a fireman. David Halberstam lives on the West Side of Manhattan, and had a distant admiration "for firemen, for their courage, for the highly professional and immensely good-natured way they go about their jobs, and for the fact that they constantly have to deal with terrifying fires in the high-rises that surround us." He had, before September 11, never been in his neighborhood Engine 40, Ladder 35 Firehouse. The firehouse lost twelve of the thirteen men sent on the engine and ladder to the World Trade Center, and Halberstam, in _Firehouse_ (Hyperion) tells us of their lives and work. It is a small, graceful, moving, eye-opening homage to firemen and their values.
The values are a family matter. Not only are the members of a firehouse family to themselves, for they literally depend on each other for their lives. Significantly, however, firefighting runs in families. Some of the men lost that dreadful day were third generation firemen who, sometimes against the advice of their fathers, never wanted to be anything but firemen.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has read David Halberstam knows he is a fine journalist. He certainly does not disappoint in this small memorial of some of the brave men who lost their lives on 9/11, the day of infamy. FIREHOUSE is the account of the thirteen firefighters of Engine 40, Ladder 35 who answered the emergency call to go to the World Trade Towers. Of the thirteen who left on the mission, only one returned.
Inside the front and back panels of the book is a reproduction of the actual list of firemen who were posted to answer the call on 9/11; their photographs are printed on the back cover. These become a makeshift memorial to these men not unlike the Vietnam Wall or the AIDS Quilt. I found myself looking back at their names and photographs as Halberstam introduces each of the thirteen.
These men's bios are sketchy as are the actual facts of what they faced on 9/11. They were overwhelmingly white, most of them married or about to be, many of them the sons or brothers or cousins of other New York firefighters. An interesting tidbit: most of these men were fine cooks as well.
There is hardly a negative statement about any of these men, a fact that shouldn't surprise anyone since Halberstam interviewed surviving relatives and colleagues shortly after 9/11. It is human nature to remember only the good of loved ones so recently after a tragedy. I did learn, however, that Jimmy Giberson, described as a natural leader, was separated from his wife. Certainly I, a complete stranger, do not need more details of his failed marriage. I'm much rather learn that in a video shot by a contract cameraman on 9/11 Giberson is identified as the man going into the south tower ahead of the captain, an unusual fact that at first puzzled the remaining firemen. But a close friend resonded: "Jimmy was always in front.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mike on May 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Firehouse is a wonderful moving tribute to 13 of the firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Of the 13 who responded that day, only 1 survived, and this is the story of their lives.
Writing about the fire service can be a difficult thing, especially for those who have no connection to firefighters or the culture. Here, David Halberstam has been able to get the feeling of one of New York's fire stations, in this case Engine 40 and Ladder 35, and bring the outside world into this little seen world where few ever enter. The only other book I have read which even comes to getting the sense of what it is like in the fire station was with Dennis Smith's "Report from Engine Company 82", and Mr. Smith was a firefighter to boot. I certainly tip my helmet to Mr. Halberstam for getting it right. If you have been a firefighter for 1 day or 30 years, or someone who just wants to read a great book which offers incredible insight into the FDNY and fire service at large, then buy "Firehouse".
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MJR reader on May 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I met and spoke with David Halberstam at the L.A. Times Book Fair and he said this would be his next work and he was happy of the effort the publisher had made to get this book to print. And we, as readers, should be happy too that this book is now available.
There will be volumes written about the events of 9/11, what makes this book special is that it gives us insight into the character of the men who gave their lives that tragic day. Of the 13 men who left the firehouse on 9/11, only one would survive. Halberstam makes no mystery of who dies, all you have to do is look at the back cover to see the pictures of the twelve men who passed away when the World Trade Center towers came down. What Halberstam does do is make us have a feel for who these brave men were, as well as their families and friends who most now go on without them.
As always with Halberstam this is is very well written book.
This book is almost a coda, another chapter, of his latest major work, "War in a Time of Peace" which was published just weeks before 9/11 and mentions on the last page that the new threat to the United States will not come from some super-power or established nation but rather from terrorists and extremists.
To understand the loss we as a country truly paid on that tragic day read this book.
This is a touching book and slim though it is it is very special. It will touch your heart.
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