Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Fire" by Sebastian Junger

Recently finished reading "Fire" by Sebastian Junger.

Junger is best known for writing "The Perfect Storm" (excellent book made into a very good movie) as well as the compelling "A Death in Belmont". I came across "Fire" after hearing about Junger's recently recently non-fiction work "War" about his time with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Published in 2001, "Fire" is a collection of short non-fiction... most if not all of which was first published as magazine features. The title of the collection comes from the largest piece in the book and while some of the other stories in the book I wasn't as interested in, this work about those who fight wildfires in the Western U.S. was pretty riveting.

What struck me the most from the book, though, was actually from the author introduction. Junger left behind a job waiting tables and apprenticeship as a tree cutter and flew to Boise, Idaho where he presented himself to the National Forest Service as someone wanting to write about fighting forest fires.

Out of this non-magazine representing basis, Junger was granted access to the fire zone and proceeded to create a well written and interesting narrative about the men who battle in it.

While I imagine Junger's writing career wasn't immediately successful right after finishing "Fire", I find very cool the description of him starting this way and out of that creating such solid work.