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3 Hawthorne Pacific Northwest- Montana

Young Men and Fire

by

Young Men and Fire Cover

ISBN13: 9780226500614
ISBN10: 0226500616
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On August 5, 1949, a crew of fifteen of the United States Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Two hours after their jump, all but three of these men were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean puts back together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy.

Young Men and Fire won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.

"A magnificent drama of writing, a tragedy that pays tribute to the dead and offers rescue to the living.... Maclean's search for the truth, which becomes an exploration of his own mortality, is more compelling even than his journey into the heart of the fire. His description of the conflagration terrifies, but it is his battle with words, his effort to turn the story of the 13 men into tragedy that makes this book a classic."—from New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, Best Books of 1992

"A treasure: part detective story, part western, part tragedy, part elegy and wholly eloquent ghost story in which the dead and the living join ranks cheerfully, if sometimes eerily, in a search for truth and the rest it brings."—Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune

"An astonishing book. In compelling language, both homely and elegant, Young Men and Fire miraculously combines a fascinating primer on fires and firefighting, a powerful, breathtakingly real reconstruction of a tragedy, and a meditation on writing, grief and human character.... Maclean's last book will stir your heart and haunt your memory."—Timothy Foote, USA Today

"Beautiful.... A dark American idyll of which the language can be proud."—Robert M. Adams, The New York Review of Books

"Young Men and Fire is redolent of Melville. Just as the reader of Moby Dick comes to comprehend the monstrous entirety of the great white whale, so the reader of Young Men and Fire goes into the heart of the great red fire and comes out thoroughly informed. Don't hesitate to take the plunge."—Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post Book World

"Young Men and Fire is a somber and poetic retelling of a tragic event. It is the pinnacle of smokejumping literature and a classic work of 20th-century nonfiction."—John Holkeboer, The Wall Street Journal

"Maclean is always with the brave young dead. . . . They could not have found a storyteller with a better claim to represent their honor. . . . A great book."—James R. Kincaid, New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

On August 5, 1949, a crew of fifteen Smokejumpers, the United States Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Less than two hours after their jump, all but three of these men were dead or fatally burned. Exactly what happened in Mann Gulch that day has been obscured by years of grief and controversy. Now a master storyteller finally gives the Mann Gulch fire its due as tragedy. Norman Maclean first saw the Mann Gulch fire as it still burned in mid-August 1949, and even then he knew he would one day become a part of its story. Maclean spent the last fourteen years of his life studying and reliving the fire. Young Men and Fire is the long-awaited result, a story of Montana, of the ways of wildfires, firefighters, and fire scientists, and especially of a crew, young and proud, who "hadn't learned to count the odds and to sense they might owe the universe a tragedy". This tale is also Maclean's own, the story of a writer obsessed by a strange and human horror, unable to let the truth die with these young men, searching for the last - and lasting - word. Nature's violence collides with human fallibility in Young Men and Fire. The Smokejumpers in Mann Gulch are trapped by a "blowup", a deadly explosion of flame and wind rarely encountered and little understood at the time. Only seconds ahead of the approaching firestorm, the foreman, R. Wagner Dodge, throws himself into the ashes of an "escape fire" - and survives as his confused men run, their last moments obscured by smoke. The parents of the dead cry murder, charging that the foreman's fire killed their boys. Years later, Maclean returns to the scene with twoof the survivors and pursues the mysteries that Mann Gulch has kept hidden since 1949. From the words of witnesses, the evidence of history, and the research of fire scientists, Maclean at last assembles the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy.

About the Author

Norman Maclean (1902-1990), woodsman, scholar, teacher, and storyteller, grew up in the Western Rocky Mountains of Montana and worked for many years in logging camps and for the United States Forestry Service before beginning his academic career. He was the William Rainey Harper Professor of English at the University of Chicago until 1973.

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Publisher's Note

Black Ghost

Young Men and Fire

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Maps of Gates of the Mountains and western Montana

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

itpdx, August 11, 2009 (view all comments by itpdx)
"In memory of the 13 heroic men who lost their lives in service of the their country fighting the Mann Gulch Forest Fire...on August 5, 1949". Memorial plaque. Norman Maclean visited the site of the Mann Gulch Fire while the ashes were still smoldering and went back time after time during his life. Twenty five years after the fire, he started to try to make sense of the deaths--combing the Forest Service archives, interviewing survivors, clambering over the hillside marked by crosses with a tape measure. He traced their path. He looked for their legacy in changes in Smokejumper training and forest fire fighting operations. He wrestled with telling their story up to his death forty years after the fire. This haunting book is what he left us.

This book was recommended by my brother, who worked on Forest Service fire fighting crews in the 70's.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226500614
Author:
MacLean, Norman
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
MacLean, Norman
Location:
Chicago :
Subject:
Trees
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Forests & Forestry
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
Forest fires
Subject:
Smokejumpers.
Subject:
Smokejumpers -- United States.
Subject:
Trees & Forests
Subject:
Trees & Forests - General
Subject:
United States Officials and employees.
Subject:
Plants - Trees
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Physics-Meteorology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
1709
Publication Date:
19920931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
17 halftones, 2 maps, 4 graphs
Pages:
316
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Americana » Fire Fighting
History and Social Science » Americana » Rocky Mountains
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Montana
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Botany » Trees and Shrubs
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Trees
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

Young Men and Fire Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 316 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226500614 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , On August 5, 1949, a crew of fifteen Smokejumpers, the United States Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Less than two hours after their jump, all but three of these men were dead or fatally burned. Exactly what happened in Mann Gulch that day has been obscured by years of grief and controversy. Now a master storyteller finally gives the Mann Gulch fire its due as tragedy. Norman Maclean first saw the Mann Gulch fire as it still burned in mid-August 1949, and even then he knew he would one day become a part of its story. Maclean spent the last fourteen years of his life studying and reliving the fire. Young Men and Fire is the long-awaited result, a story of Montana, of the ways of wildfires, firefighters, and fire scientists, and especially of a crew, young and proud, who "hadn't learned to count the odds and to sense they might owe the universe a tragedy". This tale is also Maclean's own, the story of a writer obsessed by a strange and human horror, unable to let the truth die with these young men, searching for the last - and lasting - word. Nature's violence collides with human fallibility in Young Men and Fire. The Smokejumpers in Mann Gulch are trapped by a "blowup", a deadly explosion of flame and wind rarely encountered and little understood at the time. Only seconds ahead of the approaching firestorm, the foreman, R. Wagner Dodge, throws himself into the ashes of an "escape fire" - and survives as his confused men run, their last moments obscured by smoke. The parents of the dead cry murder, charging that the foreman's fire killed their boys. Years later, Maclean returns to the scene with twoof the survivors and pursues the mysteries that Mann Gulch has kept hidden since 1949. From the words of witnesses, the evidence of history, and the research of fire scientists, Maclean at last assembles the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy.
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