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Paradise: One Town's Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire Hardcover – August 17, 2021

4.6 out of 5 stars 331 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A vivid ticktock account of the disaster, told through the stories of those who experienced it.”—The New York Times
 
“In this reportorial tour de force, Lizzie Johnson captures the orange-black hell of the Paradise wildfire in wrenching, skin-singeing detail. You can smell the smoke, feel the super-heated air. After reading this book I wanted to clear all brush and trees away from my home—and I live in Manhattan.”
—Erik Larson, author of The Splendid and the Vile

Paradise is a phenomenal piece of reporting, filled with love and loss, valor and terror. Lizzie Johnson has written the definitive account of an American tragedy.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

“Immediate and emotionally devastating . . . Johnson works to balance the imperative of narrative tension with respect for the unimaginable tragedy, and the resulting work is worth the emotional toll of reading it.”
—Los Angeles Times

“A masterful feat of reporting and climate-era storytelling. [Johnson] has taken the story of a rough-hewn town of retirees and Trumpers, population 27,000 (pre-fire), and turned it into a parable of suffering and loss, of love and heroism.”
—Rolling Stone

Paradise delves so deep into the experiences of every character that we see the fire through their eyes. . . . That’s the true feat of Johnson’s meticulous account: she humanizes a tragedy that is otherwise too big to fathom. . . . More than just a portrait of destruction, this book is a small act of restoration.”Outside

“Writers seek intimacy to get readers to care about their subjects when disaster strikes. That tactic works here, yet it does more. Johnson’s kaleidoscope of biographical snapshots creates a twenty-first-century version of Sherwood Anderson’s 1919 novel,
Winesburg, Ohio.”The Washington Post

“Riveting . . .
Paradise does what good journalism is supposed to do: It bears witness, in sharp, moving detail, to what happened.”BuzzFeed News

“Johnson does for California’s deadliest wildfire what Sheri Fink did for Hurricane Katrina in
Five Days at Memorial. . . . The book is unmatched for the depth, breadth, and quality of its reporting on a major twenty-first-century wildfire, and it’s likely to become the definitive account of the catastrophe in Paradise.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Gripping, shocking, and intimate . . . The definitive story of an American tragedy.”
—Library Journal (starred review)

“A viscerally harrowing, almost minute-by-minute narrative . . . [Johnson] humanizes the book with detailed, sensitively told stories of many of the townspeople.”
—Booklist (starred review)

Paradise is a propulsive, compassionate tale of lives forever altered and the lessons we must learn about our rapidly changing planet.”—Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road

“In the tradition of disaster-reporting classics like
102 Minutes and Five Days at Memorial, Paradise delivers everything you expect from the best narrative nonfiction: on-the-ground reporting, incisive writing, and thoughtful analysis. . . . A masterful achievement.”—Nate Blakeslee, author of American Wolf

About the Author

Lizzie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Post. Previously, she worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she reported on fifteen of the deadliest, largest, and most destructive blazes in modern California history, and covered over thirty communities impacted by wildfires. Originally from Nebraska, she lived part-time in Paradise while reporting this book and currently lives in Washington, DC.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown (August 17, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593136381
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593136386
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.48 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.3 x 1.37 x 9.54 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 331 ratings

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Lizzie Johnson is a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she has reported on fifteen of the deadliest, largest, and most destructive blazes in modern California history, and covered over thirty communities impacted by wildfires. Originally from Nebraska, she lived part-time in Paradise while reporting this book and currently lives in San Francisco.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
331 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Bronwen Williams
2.0 out of 5 stars No Photos, Too Much Info on Backgrounds
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on October 19, 2021
jazz69
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vivid Account of Extreme Fire
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on September 2, 2021