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"In the firehouse the men not only live and eat with each other, they play sports together, go off to drink together, help repair one another's houses and, most importantly, share terrifying risks; their loyalties to each other must, by the demands of the dangers they face, be instinctive and absolute." So writes David Halberstam, one of America's most distinguished reporters and historians in this stunning book about Engine 40, Ladder 35—one of the firehouses hardest hit in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers. On the morning of September 11, 2001, two rigs carrying 13 men set out from this firehouse, located on the west side of Manhattan near Lincoln Center; twelve of the men would never return.
Firehouse takes us to the very epicenter of the tragedy. We watch the day unfold, the men called to duty, while their families wait anxiously for news of them. In addition we come to understand the culture of the firehouse itself, why gifted men do this and why in so many instances they are anxious to follow in their fathers' footsteps and serve in so dangerous a profession—why more than anything else, it is not just a job, but a calling as well.
Firehouse is journalism-as-history at its best. The story of what happens when one small institution gets caught in an apocalyptic day, it is an audiobook that will move listeners as few others have in our time.
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Thirteen men from Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse initially responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; only one survived. Located near Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the firehouse was known for its rich tradition and strong leadership. This gripping book details the actions of the 13 men on that horrific day and the heartbreaking aftermath--the search for the bodies, the efforts of their families to deal with overwhelming grief, and the guilt and conflicting emotions of the surviving members of the firehouse. The book is also about the men themselves and the tight bond and sense of duty and honor that held them together. David Halberstam does a masterful job of illustrating the inner workings of a firehouse, with its traditions, routines, and complex social structure that in many ways resembles a "vast extended second family--rich, warm, joyous, and supportive, but on occasion quite edgy as well, with all the inevitable tensions brought on by so many forceful men living so closely together over so long a period of time." He also explains why so many men choose this life despite the high risk, relatively low pay, and physical and emotional demands of the job.
Halberstam and his family live three and a half blocks from Engine 40, Ladder 35, and he writes of these 13 men in such a loving and precise way that he could be describing members of his own clan. Deeply felt and emotional, Firehouse is a tribute to these decent, honorable, and heroic men and a celebration of their selflessness not only as firefighters but also as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and friends. --Shawn CarkonenAbout the Author:
David Halberstam is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the bestselling author of The Powers That Be, The Best And the Brightest, and Summer of 49.
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