Hot summer reading


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, Fighting fires, and indignities.

Writers and photographers have been catching up with public interest to document firefighting.

Michael Thoele's Fire Line: The Summer Battles of the West collects dramatic photographs from across the front lines of wildland firefighting, focusing the summer drama of smokejumpers, Hotshots and other "adrenaline junkies."

Thoele, the father of two Forest Service Hotshots, left the Eugene Register-Guard in 1993, where he was a reporter and editor, to write this book. He covers all facets of the firefighting world, with chapters on "groundpounders," helicopters, and fire generals. But photos take center stage.

Fulcrum Publishing, 350 Indiana Street, Suite 350, Golden, CO 80401-5093. 170 pages, $34.95, with photos by more than 50 photographers.

In Smokejumpers, '49, Brothers In the Sky, Starr Jenkins, a Forest Service smokejumper for five years when the program was in its infancy, recounts the early days, describing wildfires and "that rare breed" of men.

He includes an afterword by Robert W. Sallee, the only living survivor of the Mann Gulch Fire in Montana in 1949. Photos are by Peter Stackpole, who reprises his 1949 LIFE magazine pictorial on airborne firefighters.

Merritt Starr Books, P.O. Box 1165, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 (805/544-6214).

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