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Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire in the West
Synopses & Reviews
During one incendiary summer, Murry Taylor kept an extensive journal of his day-to-day activities as an Alaskan smokejumper. It wasn't his first season fighting wildfires, and he's far from being a rookie-he's been on the job since 1965. Through this narrative of one busy season, Taylor reflects on the years of training, the harrowing adrenaline-fueled jumps, his brushes with death, the fires he conquered, and the ones that got away. It's a world full of bravado, one with epic battles of man versus nature, resulting in stories of death-defying defeats, serious injury, and occasionally tragedy. We witness Taylor's story; learn of the training, preparation, technology, and latest equipment used in fighting wildfires; and get to know his fellow smokejumpers in the ready room, on the tundra, and in the vast forests of one of the last great wilderness areas in the world. Often thrilling and informative and always entertaining, Taylor's memoir is one of the first autobiographical accounts of a legendary career.
Book News Annotation:
In the shadow of Mt. McKinley, above the Yukon River, and the Rocky Mountains are among the places Taylor has fought fires during his 20- year career. His account includes digging firelines, fighting off angry bears, telling funny stories around the campfire, and remembering jumpers who have fallen to their deaths and pilots who have perished in fiery crashes. He is the oldest living fire jumper, and the oldest ever to jump. He includes a glossary without a guide to pronunciation.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A veteran smokejumper recounts his three decades parachuting out of planes and fighting fires in the vast, rugged wilderness of the West, told within the framework of one thrilling season.
A gut-wrenching and compelling memoir "for readers who like books like The Perfect Storm" (Library Journal)
Fighting fires since 1965, veteran smokejumper Murry Taylor finally retired from his legendary career after last summer-the worst fire season in more than fifty years. After three decades of parachuting out of planes and battling blazes in the vast, rugged wilderness of Alaska and the West, Taylor recounts in Jumping Fire, with passion and honesty, stories of man versus nature at its most furious and unforgiving. He shares what it's like to hear the deafening roar, to smell the acrid burn, to feel the intense heat, to breathe the thick fumes, and to finally run for your life with exploding flames two hundred feet high and a mile wide licking at your heels.
Written with a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, "Jumping Fire is a tale of love and loss, life and death, and sheer hard work, set in an unforgiving and unforgettable landscape, that's second only to Norman Maclean's classic Young Men and Fire" (Publishers Weekly).
About the Author
Murry A. Taylor was a smokejumper on and off for more than thirty years. He was the oldest active smokejumper at the time of his retirement in 2000, and the oldest ever to do the job. He lives in northern California.
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