Bill Littell's Reviews > Working Fire: The Making of a Fireman

Working Fire by Zac Unger
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's review
Oct 29, 2010

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bookshelves: adult-nonfiction, ya-adventure-survival, ya-nonfiction
Read in May, 2008

Lexile: 1070

Very much in the style of Jon Krakauer. Working fire is a lucid, articulate treatment of a field that very few of us truly understand. The writer is analytical without being tedious. At times, the text is hard to put down; at others, it gets a little prosaic. I got Tim O'Brien vibes at times.

Words of Wisdom: The word "firefighter" has a strange connotation. It seems like a natural cousin to "crime fighter," but it's different. Fire fighting isn't really about fire in the same way that police work is obsessed with crime. I don't have fire in my blood; I'm not obsessed by it. I respect fire and believe it can be beautiful at times, but I don't lie awake nights thinking of it as my sworn enemy. Fire fighting is not about the thing we conquer but about the things we save. The fire is secondary; the lives are always first. For all our macho posturing, we're just caretakers.

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