On the Burning Edge

  • by Kyle Dickman
  • Narrated by Will Damron
  • 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers comes a true and heartbreaking tale of courage, difficult decisions, and ultimate sacrifice. On the Burning Edge, by award-winning journalist and former wildland firefighter Kyle Dickman, is the definitive account of the Yarnell Hill Fire.
On June 28, 2013, a single bolt of lightning sparked an inferno that devoured more than 8,000 acres in Northern Arizona. Twenty elite firefighters - the Granite Mountain Hotshots - walked together into the blaze, tools in their hands and fire shelters on their hips. Only one of them walked out.
Dickman brings to the story a professional firefighter's understanding of how wildfires ignite, how they spread, and how they are fought. He understands hotshots and their culture: the pain and glory of a rough and vital job, the brotherly bonds born of dangerous work. Drawing on dozens of interviews with officials, families of the fallen, and the lone survivor, he describes in vivid detail what it's like to stand inside a raging fire - and shows how the increased population and decreased water supply of the American West guarantee that many more young men will step into harm's way in the coming years.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

being firefighter myself,this book hit my heart.

Exceptional book, great insight to fighting wildland fires and how to become a hot shot.
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- Eric

Be on the fire line, and in their heads.

Would you consider the audio edition of On the Burning Edge to be better than the print version?

Although the technical information provided about the crew, fire equipment and field terms is easy to understand, reading the same at a study pace, and having a written outline (provided by the author of men, squads, fires, etc.) provided a better touch-stone. The audio version is "better" because the narrator, Will Damron, provides the emotion and sense of urgency that is the backbone of this story.


What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Learning about the mens' lives, dreams, family and motivations.


Which scene was your favorite?

Favorite? Well, impressive and mind boggling. The telling of the Dude Fire. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I had no idea of the risk involved, and how the situations can change in the blink of an eye. They all train so hard to be ready. Ready. I cried.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This book is based on actual events. The aftermath of any tragedy claiming human life, leaves those left behind empty at all levels of emotion and understanding. The eulogy read by Granite Mountain Firefighter Brendan McDonough is one of those moments.


Any additional comments?

Kyle Dickmans' book is well written, and very interesting. The language and tools of firefighting are made easy for anyone to understand. I enjoyed learning the history of wild land fire fighting and how it came to be in the fabric of our nation.

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- Desiree May

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-12-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio