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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