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Extended Audio Sample Firehouse, by David Halberstam Click for printable size audiobook cover
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 Foste Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 important, 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 New York Times bestselling book about Engine 40, Ladder 35, located on the West Side of Manhattan near Lincoln Center. On the morning of September 11, 2001, two rigs carrying thirteen men set out from this firehouse: twelve of them would never return.

Firehouse takes us to the epicenter of the tragedy. Through the kind of intimate portraits that are Halberstam’s trademark, 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; why, in so many instances, they are eager to follow in their fathers’ footsteps and serve in so dangerous a profession; and why, more than anything else, it is not just a job, but a calling.

This is journalism-as-history at its best, the story of what happens when one small institution gets caught in an apocalyptic day. Firehouse is a book that will move readers as few others have in our time.

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Quotes & Awards

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

    Frank McCourt

  • “Always clear-eyed and affecting.”


  • “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 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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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.”