Winter is the time of year when a fire in a fireplace is a welcome thing. Fires are not so welcome outside of a fireplace. Fires can be dangerous. This month’s Recommended Reads is about bad fires.
Nineteenth century cities had a knack for having major fires. Downtown Seattle and part of the waterfront burned to the ground on June 6, 1889.
City of Ash by Megan Chance.
Geneva Langley, a socialite from Chicago, and Beatrice Wilkes, an actress who dreams to be a leading lady, battle fiercely for center stage. When the great Seattle fire of 1889 ravages the city, their plans and fates are changed. Some sex and strong language. 2011. Digital Book DBW 8358. Available for download from WTBBL: http://www.wtbbl.org/login.aspx .
What happened to Seattle was just a small bonfire compared to what happened to Chicago on October 8 -10, 1871. Some say it was caused by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
Illinois! [#18, Wagons West Series] by Dana Fuller Ross.
Toby Holt, son of legendary wagonmaster Whip Holt, comes to the great growing city of Chicago on his way to Wisconsin to found a logging dynasty. Action climaxes with the fire started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow on October 8, 1871. Sequel to "Tennessee!" Some strong language. Bestseller 1986. Braille Book BR 6867. Cassette Book RC 23950. Digital Book DB 23950. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.23950.
Mrs. O’Leary’s cow made for a fine story, but perhaps it’s only a story.
The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow by Richard F. Bales.
A detailed examination of the historical evidence of one of the worst fires in American history. Using land-tract records and transcripts from the 1871 investigation, Bales posits that the more prominent theories on the fire's origins--and the story of Mrs. O'Leary's cow--were implausible. Illinois State Historical Soc. Award. 2002. Cassette Book RC 65881. Digital Book DB 65881. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.65881.
Forest fires can be worse than urban fires.
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan.
Depicts the 1910 forest fire that devastated swaths of Idaho, Washington, and Montana and portrays the people who battled the flames. Highlights President Theodore Roosevelt's and the fledgling U.S. Forest Service's stance against mining and timber interests, which led to efforts to conserve the country's natural resources. Some strong language. 2009. Cassette Book RC 69976. Digital Book DB 69976. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.69976.
Some would say that fighting forest fires has its romantic moments.
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts.
Missoula, Montana. Rowan Tripp, a "smoke jumper" like her dad, enters the forest-fire season haunted by nightmares of her partner's death the previous year. She also contends with sabotaged equipment, murder, and her attraction to a rookie. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2011. Digital Books DB 73207. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.73207.
Fighting forest fires can be deadly.
Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire by John N. MacLean.
An account of the 1994 forest fire on Colorado's Storm King Mountain, which claimed the lives of fourteen elite firefighters, including four women. Reconstructs the human errors that compounded the natural disaster, mistakes made during the investigations that followed, and lessons to be learned. Some strong language. 1999. Cassette Book RC 50200. Digital Book DB 50200. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.50200.
Fighting fires in skyscrapers can be deadly, too.
Firehouse by David Halberstam.
Account of the New York City firefighters from Engine 40, Ladder 35, who respond to the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Of the thirteen men on duty only one survives. Bestseller. 2002. Cassette Book RC 54444. Large Print LP 19026. Digital Book DB 54444. Also available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.54444.
Some firefighters can become lawmen.
Black Hearts and Slow Dancing [#1, Mac Fontana series] by Earl Emerson.
Sheriff Mac Fontana, ex-firefighter, investigates the murder of a Seattle fireman. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. 1988. Cassette Book CBA 7894. Digital Book DBW 7894. Available for download from WTBBL: http://www.wtbbl.org/login.aspx .
Some firefighters become political dissidents.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Social satire set in the future, when owning or reading books is a crime. Guy Montag, the fireman-hero, becomes a fugitive when he succumbs to temptation. Some strong language. Braille Book BR 15332. Cassette Book RC 34963. English language Digital Book DB 34963. Available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.34963.
Spanish language Digital Book DB 67981. Available for download from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.67981 .
BR 15332 is also available as a downloadable Braille book from BARD: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/br.15332v01 and http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/br.15332v02