Book Review: Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them by Michael Cooper


Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them by Michael Cooper is a nonfiction book for children and adults alike. The book details 10 of the deadliest fires in American history from colonial times to the modern day. There are two constants in all of the stories,  the destructive power of fires and the bravery of those who fight them. The infernoes included in this book are the great fires of Boston, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and San Francisco, the disasters of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the General Slocum, and the Coconut Grove nightclub, the wildfire of Witch Creek in San Diego County, and the catastrophe of 9/11. Each blaze led to new firefighting techniques and technologies, however the battles against fires continues to this day. The book offers historical images and a fast-paced text, this is both an exciting look at firefighting history, a celebration of the human spirit, and a chronicle of lost lives and dreams.

Fighting Fire! is a must read for anyone that is interested in the history of fire fighting, knows fire fighters, or have been touched by fire's devastation in their lives. The book is not always an easy read, as the stories and lives lost are heart wrenching. However the things we have learned from fires, the changes we have made and the techniques we have developed in response to the tragedies offer us hope and inspiration for further innovation. It is a wonderful resource about the history of our nation, its people, and fire fighting techniques through the lens of tragedy and loss.  

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