Young Men & Fire (Audio cassette)

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Staff Reviews


In 2012 I read three older wonderful, quirky non-fiction books that shared a common element: despite not being memoir, each author’s experience becomes intertwined with the story they’re telling. In addition to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Hare with Amber Eyes, I thoroughly enjoyed Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean. It is not only a lucid analysis of the 1949 Mann Gulch tragedy in which 13 wildfire fighters were killed, this book is also a very personal meditation on the meaning of youth, loss and aging. A modern Moby Dick of the American west.

This is a decidedly un-polished account of the 1949 Mann Gulch tragedy in which 13 firefighters were killed by a wildfire in the rugged Montana mountains. MacLean (author of A River Runs Through It) was somewhat obsessed with the story, and spent most of the latter years of his life trying to get the facts down on paper. The manuscript was eventually published after his death, and while it’s clunky, it is an interesting book showing a masterful writer struggling with a difficult story and his own mortality.

Not only a lucid analysis of the 1949 Mann Gulch tragedy, this book is also a very personal meditation on the meaning of youth, loss and aging. A modern Moby Dick of the American west.

— Chris

Description


On August 5, 1949, a crew of 15 of the U.S. Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in Montana wilderness. Less than an hour later, all but three were dead or fatally burned in a "blowup," an explosive 2,000 degree firestorm 300 feet deep and 200 feet tall. Winner of a 1992 National Book Critic Award, Young Men & Fire consumed 14 years of Norman Maclean's life. He sifted through grief and controversy in search of the truth about the Mann Gulch tragedy, then wrote about it in excruciating detail. The sobering story of the worst disaster in the history of the Forest Service also embraces the themes of honor, death, compassion, rebirth, and the human spirit.

About the Author


NORMAN MACLEAN grew up in and around Missoula, Montana, where he worked in logging camps and for the U.S. Forest Service. He attended Dartmouth College and taught English for 46 years at the University of Chicago.


JOHN NORMAN MACLEAN is an award-winning author and journalist who has written about wildland fire for more than 15 years. His first book, Fire on the Mountain, was featured in two documentaries by Dateline NBC and the History Channel. He has also written Fire and Ashes and The Thirtymile Fire, both critically acclaimed. He lives in Washington, DC.



Product Details
ISBN: 9781565113961
Publisher: HighBridge Classics
Publication Date: August 7th, 2000

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