The Bottom Line
The 1949 fire was the worst disaster ever for smokejumpers. Norman Maclean defines his generation's ultimate wildfire disaster as his son John would go on to do in "Fire on the Mountain".
- Brief but excellent discourse on the danger and history of smokejumping.
- Norman Maclean's prose turns the Mann Gulch event into a work of art.
- A primer on firefighting mixed with good old storytelling.
- Norman Maclean's death left an unprepared manuscript which had to be edited for publication.
- Great investigative journalism chronicled by a true wordsmith who actually saw the fire burning.
- One of the best discriptions of a wildfire "blowup" with trapped men ever written.
- Father of John N. Maclean who wrote "Fire on the Mountain".
Guide Review - Review: Young Men and Fire
Maclean also wrote the acclaimed book "A River Runs Through It".
Excerpt: "after the bodies had fallen, most of them had risen again, taken a few steps, and fallen again, this time like pilgrims in prayer, facing the top of the hill...The evidence, then, is that at the very end beyond thought and beyond fear and beyond even self-compassion and divine bewilderment there remains some firm intention to continue doing forever and ever what we last hoped to do on earth. By this final act they had come about as close as body and spirit can to establishing a unity of themselves with earth, fire, and perhaps the sky."