Working Fire: The Making of an Accidental Fireman
by Zac Unger
Lines of Fire
A review by Daniel Torday
Here's Zac Unger's description of the first time he almost died:
"My hands were shaking. I was losing my grip on the rope, and I wanted to crawl out of my skin and lie on the ground sucking in great mouthfuls of air. I don't remember letting the weight slide back down again; I was in such a panic to pull off my mask that I probably just let it drop....The air felt so good, the fetid roasted-coffee breeze so sweet."
Unger's sweaty-palmed memoir, Working Fire, tells of his switch from Ivy Leaguer destined for a life sentence in academia to hard-baked Oakland firefighter. The book as a whole does exactly what the preceding passage does: It sucks you in. And like the best adventure tales from Jon Krakauer's to Sebastian Junger's it steps out of the way and lets you go through the adventure yourself.
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