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Young Men and Fire: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition

Category: Book
By (author): Egan, Timothy
By (author): Maclean, Norman
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary
  FICTION / General
  HISTORY / United States / State & Local / West (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Published: May 2017
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 8.50in x 5.50in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 24.50
Availability:
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A devastating and lyrical work of nonfiction, Young Men and Fire describes the events of August 5, 1949, when a crew of fifteen of the US 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 the men were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean puts together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy in Young Men and Fire, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Alongside Maclean's now-canonical A River Runs through It and Other Stories, Young Men and Fire is recognized today as a classic of the American West. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Maclean's later triumph-the last book he would write-includes a powerful new foreword by Timothy Egan, author of The Big Burn and The Worst Hard Time. As moving and profound as when it was first published, Young Men and Fire honors the literary legacy of a man who gave voice to an essential corner of the American soul.
From The Publisher*Twenty-five years after its first publication, Young Men and Fire is read avidly by students of literary nonfiction for its blend of hard-earned research, memoir, and an old man's wisdom. It tells one of the most infamous stories in the history of wildland firefighting: 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. On the ground, they were joined by a local fireguard. Two hours after the jump, all but three of the men were dead or mortally burned. For forty years, Maclean was haunted by these deaths. And for the last years of his life, he struggled to write a book that would put back together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch disaster and to give it the dignity of tragedy. The result is both the definitive account of what happened to the Smokejumpers on that remote Montana mountainside in 1949, and the narrative of a writer's quest for meaning in the face of elusive facts and the waning energies of old age.
Review Quote*"A taut, terrifying yet poetic account. . . . Maclean . . . is unsparing in his prose and dogged in his reporting, piecing together the elements that led to more than a dozen men suffocating and burning to death. The story, which I've read at least four times now, is agonizing to read, making the hairs on my arms stand on end. It is also one of the most pleasurable experiences I've had."
Review Quote*"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. . . . A classic."
Review Quote*"Beautiful. . . . A dark American idyll of which the language can be proud."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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 twentieth-century nonfiction."
Review Quote*"A haunting work."