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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (535 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Halberstam Narrator: Mel Foster Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2004 ISBN: 9781597102896
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “If you have tears, prepare to shed them.”

    Frank McCourt

  • “Always clear-eyed and affecting.”

    Newsweek

  • “Graceful and moving.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Poignant and immediate portrait of a New York firehouse. Halberstam delivers a jolting study in the impermanence of things, the swiftness with which the world can be transformed.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A remarkable study of a tightly knit workplace world and the impact of September 11 upon it.”

    Washington Times

  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 2/20/2014

    " Predictable post-9/11 pablum, but an interesting look into the lives of NY firemen nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alyanna | 2/8/2014

    " It was quite sad, hearing the stories of how the firemen lived and the bond they shared. What surprised me was the family ties between firemen and their brotherly relationship with each other, making the loss of some crew members sadder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheila | 2/7/2014

    " The story of New York City Engine 40, Ladder 35, a firehouse that lost 12 of the 13 men who responded the morning of September 11, 2001. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Aylott | 1/29/2014

    " Halberstam tells the story of the firemen of Engine 40, Ladder 35, who lost 12 of the 13 men called out to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. There are some wonderful stories about the firemen -- some very funny -- but a decade later this is still a very sad book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 1/21/2014

    " The most emotionally draining book I've ever read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deandrea Williams | 1/15/2014

    " the book has alot of potential to be one of those books where you cant put them down "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicole | 1/15/2014

    " As a story of courage this would receive 5 stats, but the writing is confusing. The stories of the fireman are woven together - making each account hard to follow. I'm not even quite sure why chapters even exist since there is no clear separation or progression to the information provided about their heroic men. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simon | 1/15/2014

    " I enjoyed going into the firehouse. I liked their total commitment to the job and how they helped each other out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 TKieninger | 1/4/2014

    " Heartbreaking look into the lives of the ill-fated members of a NY firehouse. Yet these are just but a few of the amazing firemen who perished on 9/11. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Flora | 11/19/2013

    " A plainspoken, gentle reminder of firefighters' importance. Also offers a rare look into a fairly closed community. Would give 4 stars if we lived in a part of NYC less traveled by noisy emergency vehicles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 11/8/2013

    " Best book ever on 9/11. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 10/11/2013

    " Although I knew how the story would eventually end, I enjoyed how the author paid tribute to some of the many people who lost their lives. It is a positive way to carry on their memories and I am glad the families contributed to this touching story about a NY firehouse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 10/10/2013

    " Best part about this book is that it didn't talk about operations or politics at the WTC. Kept to individual experiences. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 5/9/2013

    " Personal glimpses of lives of some of the firefighters who lost their lives in the Sep 11 attach on the Twin Towers. Heart warming. Firefighters: a special breed of honorable people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Snow | 2/7/2013

    " Picked it up one Summer afternoon and read it in one sitting... Great beach book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becca LovesBrooklyn | 2/2/2013

    " An intimate look into the lives of all the men who were with FDNY Eng. 40/Ldr. 35 who were killed on September 11, 2001. It also shows us how the men (and the families) coped in the days after 9/11 and how firefighters are truly a band of brothers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawna | 1/17/2013

    " A nonsensational account of twelve NYFD men who died in the World Trade Centers on 9/11. It was personal, from the point of view of the firefighters. It helped show me what this event felt like to the men of the NYFD. An insightful book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine | 11/5/2012

    " This thin book came out in the wake of 9/11--focusing on a firehouse that lost a number of men in the towers. It is sobering and beautifully crafted. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bernadette | 7/11/2012

    " Extremely powerful! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jake | 6/21/2012

    " A glimpse into the lives and personalities of very different men doing a job they loved and later giving there lives for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 9/14/2011

    " Moving portrait of FDNY 40/35. They lost 12 of 13 men on 9/11. Still unfathomable to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn Werner | 9/14/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. It really opened my eye on what happened on September 11. It showed how helped people others. The book also told stories about the firemen that died. I would recommend this book, the book was a good eye opener. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 4/22/2011

    " Another wonderful book from Halberstam, this time focusing on the fire department a few blocks from his house and the aftermath of the NYC attacks. While there are many books written on this subject, I think this will probably stand the test of time as one of the best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine | 4/8/2011

    " This thin book came out in the wake of 9/11--focusing on a firehouse that lost a number of men in the towers. It is sobering and beautifully crafted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tkieninger | 4/6/2011

    " Heartbreaking look into the lives of the ill-fated members of a NY firehouse. Yet these are just but a few of the amazing firemen who perished on 9/11. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chapple | 3/15/2011

    " Moving account of a fire company responding to 9/11 in Manhattan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 1/29/2011

    " Moving portrait of FDNY 40/35. They lost 12 of 13 men on 9/11. Still unfathomable to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 6/15/2010

    " 911 book. True story of one firehouse nearly wiped out. A tough one... brings all the characters to life. So sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 5/20/2010

    " This is the story of a firehouse in NYC that sent 13 men off on 9/11 and only 1, who was seriously injured. It tells about the men and their lives and passion for their job. A sweet, sad story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 1/7/2010

    " Personal glimpses of lives of some of the firefighters who lost their lives in the Sep 11 attach on the Twin Towers. Heart warming. Firefighters: a special breed of honorable people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simon | 12/13/2009

    " I enjoyed going into the firehouse. I liked their total commitment to the job and how they helped each other out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy | 12/7/2009

    " Story of a NY Fire station and the men who survived 9/11 and those who didn't.

    Happy Bookers October 2002 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 12/3/2009

    " Wonderful story. It was very sad because as I was learning about and getting to know each person, I also knew that they were killed on 9/11. They were heroes. All of them. Worthwhile read. "

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About the Author
Author David Halberstam

David Halberstam graduated from Harvard, where he had served as managing editor of the daily Harvard Crimson. It was 1955, a year after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools. Halberstam went south and began his career as the one reporter on the West Point, Mississippi, Daily Times Leader. He was fired after ten months there and went to work for the Nashville Tennessean. When the sit-ins broke out in Nashville in February 1960, he was assigned to the story as principal reporter. He joined the New York Times later that year, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his early reports from Vietnam. He has received every other major journalistic award, and is a member of the Society of American Historians.

About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”