Young Men And Fire


Young Men and Fire is a book written by Norman Maclean. The story outlines the lives lost of a team of US Forest Service elites including smokejumpers and firefighters. There was a team of members with just four surviving the blaze. The survivors have issues moving forward from the tragedy. Many critics and readers say this is a must read story because of the drama, detail and tribute it pays to the fallen heroes. The author works through his characters to help them and the reading audience understand why they are feeling the way they are.


The story is an engaging piece of non-fiction that has been enjoyed by readers for years. The book was written during the late 1940s but reissued during the early 1990s. Maclean shares his account of the story based on an event that occurred in 1949, the Mann Gulch fire. At total of 13 men who fought the blaze lost their lives but the author wanted to learn more about what happened. He conducted extensive research to learn about the men and those who survived. As time moved forward some of the survivors of the blaze died. Maclean was able to learn their accounts (testimony) before their passing.


Maclean had to review report data and learn background information about the men. One element was to understand how the fire started and how it grew. There were some theories about how this happened and how it contributed to the deaths of the fire crew. The weather was a contributing factor as it was very hot outside when the fire started in August. When the winds changed direction along with heat in the air, it created a situation the fire crew could not escape. Because certain technology was not available during this time it took longer to determine what happen when the fire spread.


When the men were battling the blaze they jumped into the fire and 2 hours later, all but a few remained. The survivors were haunted by their deaths for years. The author works to help survivors learn the truth so they can move on, but the author learns a few things about life that many may not realize from this tragedy. Maclean shares compelling details about what happened but makes people think about such a tragedy a little differently. The book is critically acclaimed and has won literary awards for its content.






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