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Firehouse
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"If you have tears, prepare to shed them."-Frank McCourt The New York Times bestseller, now with an introduction by Denis Leary.

About the Author

David Halberstam was one of America's most distinguished journalists and historians. After graduating from Harvard in 1955, he covered the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, then was sent overseas by the New York Times to report on the war in Vietnam. The author of fifteen bestsellers, including The Best and the Brightest, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting at the age of thirty. He was killed in a car accident on April 23, 2007, while on his way to an interview for what was to be his next book. Denis Leary has appeared in more than thirty films, including the Oscar-nominated Wag the Dog, The Thomas Crowne Affair, and Ice Age, as well as the Christmas cult classic The Ref, and such indie favorites as Jesus' Son and Suicide Kings. Leary was the co-creator, producer, and star of the critically acclaimed network comedy The Job. His one-man shows No Cure for Cancer and Lock 'n Load broke viewing records on HBO. Leary has also written for New York magazine, GQ, Playboy, Esquire, and many other publications. He was the co-writer, creator, and star of the four-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominated television series Rescue Me.

Reviews

The phrase "read it and weep" carries a flip connotation, but those who pick up this book will literally read it and weep. Pulitzer Prize winner Halberstam spent over two and a half months, beginning last October, at the Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse, located on Manhattan's West Side. On the morning of September 11 two rigs from that house had responded to the World Trade Center attack; 13 men went out, and one came back alive. Here, the author offers us short, personal looks at these men, with details provided by brother firefighters, spouses, family, and friends, and we see how 9/11 made its awful mark on the dozen who perished, those they left behind, and the one who survived. Ex-firefighter Dennis Smith's recent Report from Ground Zero paints a much broader and, owing to his background, more personal picture of the disaster, but if he captures its mind-boggling enormity Halberstam succeeds as well at emphasizing the individual grief it caused by focusing narrowly on just his 13 men. Recommended for all libraries. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Richly detailed . . . in structure and tone, it resembles John Hersey's 1946 classic Hiroshima."--USA Today
"Firehouse leaves one feeling . . . personally touched . . . and grateful that there are ordinary people who possess such uncommon courage."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Poignant . . . Halberstam's achievement is remembering these men not just for how they died . . . for how they lived."--People Magazine

Halberstam's gripping chronicle of a company of Manhattan firemen on September 11 is moving without ever becoming grossly sentimental an impressive achievement, though readers have come to expect as much from the veteran historian and journalist (author, most recently, of War in a Time of Peace). Engine 40, Ladder 35, a firehouse near Lincoln Center, sent 13 men to the World Trade Center, 12 of whom died. Through interviews with surviving colleagues and family members, Halberstam pieces together the day's events and offers portraits of the men who perished from rookie Mike D'Auria, a former chef who liked to read about Native American culture, to Captain Frank Callahan, greatly respected by the men for his dedication and exacting standards, even if he was rather distant and laconic (when someone performed badly at a fire he would call them into his office and simply give him "The Look," a long, excruciating stare: "Nothing needed to be said the offender was supposed to know exactly how he had transgressed, and he always did"). The book also reveals much about firehouse culture the staunch code of ethics, the good-natured teasing, the men's loyalty to each other in matters large and small (one widow recalls that when she and her husband were planning home renovations, his colleagues somehow found out and showed up unasked to help, finishing the job in record time). Though he doesn't go into much detail about the technical challenges facing the fire department that day, Halberstam does convey the sheer chaos at the site and, above all, the immensity of the loss for fellow firefighters. (May 29) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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