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Young Men and Fire Paperback – 1992
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Preloaded Digital Audio Player, Audiobook, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The publishing world has seen a plethora of non-fiction books on tragedies and natural disasters in recent years, with "The Perfect Storm" and "Into Thin Air" perhaps the most successful. But those two bestsellers pale in comparison with the subtlety, the grace, and the sheer power of Maclean's story of discovering what happened to a dozen young firejumpers on a steep Montana hillside many years ago. In the final fifty pages, as remembrances of survivors mix with a technical discussion of wind and flames, Maclean's prose is so vivid, so pure, so unadornedly beautiful that I had to put the book down three or four times because my eyes were filling with tears. 'Tis a rare work of non-fiction that can do that!
I am a deeply urban person. I know nothing of forestry or firefighting. I have never been to Montana. And I was gripped by this book from start to finish, even as Maclean skilfully avoids even the slightest shred of bathos or melodrama. It is a marvelous meditation on heroism and death, and on masculinity itself, and well, well worth the read.
The book is basically cut in half, with the first half being a re-telling of the story of the Mann Gulch fire, and the second half being more of an expository on how Maclean researched the facts of the event in order to tell the story. Quite honestly, I was bored with the book when I started it, despite the fact that the event was tragic and the characters were heroic. It felt more like a newspaper article than the literature I loved in "A River..."
But, as I pushed through the story, I came to appreciate it for what it is. Mclean exudes passion for this subject, and this book is really a beautiful intersection of his prose-like writing style (it's there, if less visibly than in "A River..."), his inexplicable passion for a subject to which he had no direct connection, and basic forensic study (ala CSI TV shows.)
Being a lover of outdoors and books that take place there, I can appreciate Mclean's felt kinship with the Smokejumpers that are the central figures in this story. I was entertained by his constant ratings and comparisons of woodsmen that enter his story, much like others debate the merits of sports figures or politicians throughout time. And that leads me to this point -- Mclean was a lover of the woods and the mountains and his brethern who shared this passion. Towards the end of his life, he found a passion that helped him to keep his mind sharp and to exert himself in the mountains he loved. The exercise was cathartic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is my manyth copy -- I keep lending it out and not getting it back. I assume that means my friends liked it as much as I do. Read morePublished 8 days ago by R. OKEEFE
In depth coverage with both scientific and spiritual components. The author's telling brings with it so much humanity of our interactions with nature. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Nickle
Part poem, novel, memoir and documentary. An enjoyable book to read.Published 1 month ago by Ed Wells
Pure, absolute poetry. Insightful, and a revealing history of a tragic event, but ultimately this is written as a form of poetry. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Kane
Sometimes profound, but more often rambling and disorganized. Did not flow well. Also moving between maps and text was difficult in Kindle version.Published 1 month ago by Ozzie06
Easy to listen too - gripping story extremely well researched.Published 2 months ago by Patrick sluss
I wish his son John would recreate this book somehow. I've read his books on the Thirty Mile fire and the Storm King Mtn fire and found them to be more reader-friendly. Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Sleepless Knight