On the Fireline Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters
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Burning to death is a hellish way to die. Yet every year men and women across the country risk their lives for low pay to fight forest fires. Living in remote encampments and isolated from their friends and family, these firefighters stand ready to chase smoke at a moment’s notice. And when a fire does break out, they face a chaotic inferno armed with only hand tools, hard hats, and little else. So what motivates them to put their lives on the line and face heat so intense it can melt steel? In this rugged account of a rugged profession, Matthew Desmond explores the heart and soul of the wildland firefighter. Having joined a firecrew in Northern Arizona as a young man, Desmond relates his experiences with intimate knowledge and native ease, adroitly balancing emotion with analysis, action with insight.On the Firelineshows that these firefighters aren’t the adrenaline junkies or romantic heroes they’re so often portrayed as. Their choice to take on such hazardous work grows naturally from their rural, working-class values, which the Forest Service taps into as it conditions them to risk their lives. Along with exploring how firefighters become acclimated to the hazards of the job,On the Firelinecandidly examines the more everyday facets of their lives as well—we hear their jokes, witness their fights, and observe the close bonds they form while waiting for the next alarm to sound. Matthew Desmond’s revealing and often gripping book is truly one of a kind: an immersion into a dangerous world, a moving portrait of the lives of young people, a sophisticated analysis of a high-risk profession—and a captivating read.
List price: $26.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/30/2007
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Matthew Desmond is assistant professor of sociology and social studies at Harvard University.
|History and Place|
|The Sanctuary of the Forest|
|Training and Discipline|
|A Joke between Brothers|
|Real Firefighters Drive Green Engines|
|Learning and Burning|
|Taking the "Wild" Out of Wildfire|
|Fire and Death|
|The Beaver Creek Fire|
|The Incompetent Dead|
|Between Native and Alien|