This is a collection of essays not a cohesive book I have to say that each essay left me wanting more which is kind of good and bad The title essay is on smoke jumpers and it had a lot of informa
This is a collection of essays, not a cohesive book. I have to say that each essay left me wanting more, which is kind of good and bad. The title essay is on smoke jumpers, and it had a lot of information and good stories, but if you're looking for a book on smoke jumping or even things that are related to fire, you might be disappointed. That said, the other essays are amazing in their own right. Junger tells of the many dangerous situations he's been in and the political situations that caused the violence he was witness to in away that makes you cringe at how people could be so cruel even as you begin to understand the cruelty.One of the essays was written just before 9/11 and talks about an Afghani fighter named Massoud who was conducting a guerrilla war against the Taliban. Goodreads lists the book as having more pages than my version has, so it might be that there has been a new edition since 9/11. If so I don't know about it. It's a strange thing reading an article about the Taliban before the attack. It's almost like watching a horror movie when someone leaves to go investigate a noise. Except you don't have the comfort of believing it could never happen. It did happen. And the article points out how the rise of the Taliban is directly linked to the fall of the Soviet Union. So it's difficult to point to one thing and say it should have been done differently. Like I said. Strange. I'm definitely glad I read this book. And I'll keep it in case I need to know something about one of the wars Junger covers or something about smoke jumping, but while I knew this was a collection going in, I was still expecting more of a through line that would tie everything together and instead it just seemed like a hodge podge.A viral Fire By Sebastian Junger is Book A riveting collection of literary journalism by the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, capped off brilliantly by a new Afterword and a timely essay about war torn Afghanistan a superb eyewitness report about the Taliban s defeat in Kabul new to book form.Sebastian Junger has made a specialty of bringing to life the drama of nature and human nature Few writersA riveting collection of literary journalism by the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, capped off brilliantly by a new Afterword and a timely essay about war torn Afghanistan a superb eyewitness report about the Taliban s defeat in Kabul new to book form.Sebastian Junger has made a specialty of bringing to life the drama of nature and human nature Few writers have been to so many disparate and desperate corners of the globe Fewer still have met the standard of great journalism consistently None has provided starkly memorable evocations of extreme events From the murderous mechanics of the diamond trade in Sierra Leone, to an inferno forest fire burning out of control in the steep canyons of Idaho, to the forensics of genocide in Kosovo, this collection of Junger s reporting will take readers to places they need to know about but wouldn t dream of going on their own In his company we travel to these places, pass through frightening checkpoints, actual and psychological, and come face to face with the truth.. Sebastian Junger is the 1 New York Times bestselling author of War, The Perfect Storm, Fire, and A Death in Belmont Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the Academy Award nominated film Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism He lives in New York City.. Good Books Fire Although the book is entitled "Fire" and the first part is comprised of an introduction to the essay on fire jumpers and forest fire fighting that immediately follows, the balance of the book is a series of Sebastian Junger's essays from wartorn or conflicted areas of the world. Junger is a talented journalist and writer; I deliberately use these two different words: "Journalist" in that he notices things well and, it seems to me, records events accurately while walking the fine line between "just the facts, ma'am" and compassion. "Writer" in that he simply writes enormously well, and there are few things more enjoyable to read than excellent journalistic writing.The "Fire" essay introduces the reader to the finest traits in humans, in addition to describing scientifically the why's and how's of forest and wilderness fire behavior. (Personally, anyone reading this will (or should) never consider such foolishness as building vacation homes in wilderness areas...) As with Junger's "The Perfect Storm," which included a basic and horrifying description of the mechanics of drowning, how a person dies in a fire is similarly unflinchingly described. Junger provides a lot of information about national forest fire management - all very interesting for "information junkie" readers - as well as "on the ground" (and in the woods...) you are there moments.The balance of the essays share the commonality of (a) being terrific journalistic essays, and (b) focusing on danger and the men (rarely the women in this book) who live in it, either through choice or bad luck. However, the similarity stops there. With the exception of an essay on whale hunting in the Caribbean, the situations described in the rest of the book are all man (human) made due to the worst of human nature. Junger reports from the Balkans, Pakistan, Cyprus, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. (The latter essay is particularly poignant given that the essay and this book, while published in 2001, pre-dated both 9/11 and certain events in that country.)All of these parts of the world are or recently have been sites of the worst of human behavior against other humans - reading (listening in my case) to these accounts reminds me of something I once heard in a scientist's lecture: physiologically (and psychologically) humans have changed remarkably little since the early days of our species, primarily due to our late evolution, chronologically, large brain size, and the (long) lengths of our lives; however, our tools and means of killing each other have become remarkably refined. Basically, the capacity of humans for spite, pettiness, prejudice, greed, power, and territorial-ness (all presumably having some place in pre-historic times when food was scarce and hunting grounds dear) continues to outstrip, ironically, our humanity or, rather, our compassion. (These essays also make me think what a revolutionary Jesus Christ was, with his overall message of compassion - this is a POLITICAL and not a religious statement. Would that more self-professed Christians act more humanely, this coming from a church-goer who herself doesn't always follow "WWJD". But I digress.)Junger is clearly drawn to these dangerous and dramatic situations, and admits as much in the course of the essays. He has a remarkable talent for "putting the reader there" while also parsing out the big picture. It's his decency in doing so that, frankly, keeps the reader - kept me - from falling into a huge spiral-down funk while reading these stories. One can't help but wonder about the families and children who are born into and live in these torn areas, and who grow up fearing and hating. What is the future of us all? Well, not entirely bad if this one journalist and writer, and others like him (and those who help all of them, as Junger points out in his Acknowledgment), continue to be drawn to these areas, notice the world - both the big and little things - on all of our behalf, and then record what they see in clear, beautiful language.This Harper Audio / Recorded Books Direct unabridged recording is read in part by the author and the balance by Kevin Conway. Mr. Conway does a fine job; however, author Junger reads well and I would have preferred that he read the entire book. Good author readings just add a certain something to delivering the text and mood.
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