National Book Critics Circle, Nonfiction, 1993
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 the Montana wilderness. Less than one hour later, all but three were dead or fatally burned in a "blowup," an explosive 2,000-degree firestorm 300 feet tall. Norman MacLean spent the last 14 years of his life determined to sift through grief and controversy in search of the truth behind the Mann Gulch tragedy, one of the worst disasters in the history of the Forest Service. Young Men and Fire is the culmination of his investigations. It is a story about honor, death, compassion, and the human spirit.
"[MacLean]...remains true to the power of his own language and his own heart." (New York Times Book Review)
"A sort of pilgrimage - sometimes poetic, often earthy, and full of asides that connect the fire to experiences we all share." (Audubon)
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Warning! This recording is abridged.
I own and have read this book. This recording is abridged. The performance is fine and the essential story is present, but it is not the entire, unabridged story.
Great read, very good listen!!
Yes, this is a beautiful book about firefighting, smokejumpers, and the tragedy of the Mann Gulch fire. The recording does a good job of bringing out the highest quality of nonfictional "story" telling done by the author Norman Maclean.
A River Runs Through It, is by the same author and about the same time period and of growing up in Montana.
I don't think that the book was looking to portray any of the characters as favorites. The book was looking to tell of what happened when a group of the nations elite firefighters encountered the Mann Gulch fire in 1949, and to show the strength of character of these brave young men.
Yes, it is a book that should be read first. After reading the book, then listening to the audio version helps to recall the harsh, rugged beauty of the story.
Robert Redford did a great job in making A River Runs Through It into a movie. This story and the men that lost their life on Mann Gulch deserve the same.
- Crazy CT Marmot