Vulgar yet valiant
Stressing the macho and gonzo, Jumping Fire also does nothing to alter any perception that these firefighters are irreverent, vulgar, uncouth and crass. They get airsick and toss their barf bags out the door in mid-flight. They are the men who show up to save your cabin in the forest and just might run off with your daughter before it's over.
If you know nothing about smokejumping - or if you think it's done by wholesome, Smokey Bear types who live to teach kids about fire safety - Jumping Fire, full of technical details that don't leave the reader in the dust, will be an eye-opening introduction. If you do know something about smokejumping, you'll be reminded how fortunate society is that those who smokejump are employed by the U.S. government and not up to worse mischief.
Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire in the West, by Murry A. Taylor, harcourt, Brace & Co., 2000. Hardcover: $26. 400 pages.