David Halberstam

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0786888512

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.

"In the firehouse, the men not only live and eat with each other, they play sports together, go off to drink together, help repair one another's houses, and, most important, share terrifying risks; their loyalties to each other must, by the demands of the dangers they face, be instinctive and absolute."

So writes David Halberstam, one of America's most distinguished reporters and historians, in this stunning New York Times bestselling book about Engine 40, Ladder 35, located on the West Side of Manhattan near Lincoln Center. On the morning of September 11, 2001, two rigs carrying thirteen men set out from this firehouse: twelve of them would never return.

Firehouse takes us to the epicenter of the tragedy. Through the kind of intimate portraits that are Halberstam's trademark, we watch the day unfold--the men called to duty while their families wait anxiously for news of them. In addition, we come to understand the culture of the firehouse itself: why gifted men do this; why, in so many instances, they are eager to follow in their fathers' footsteps and serve in so dangerous a profession; and why, more than anything else, it is not just a job, but a calling.

This is journalism-as-history at its best, the story of what happens when one small institution gets caught in an apocalyptic day. Firehouse is a book that will move readers as few others have in our time.

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in his mind his whole autobiography, going all the way back to early school days, and he answered, “What about paper clips?” No, the interrogator said, somewhat annoyed, he meant stealing something of consequence—paper clips did not count. Well, Shea answered, I stole some magazines once. That, if anything, annoyed the interrogator even more, which in turn threw Shea off. By the end of the session, he managed to confuse both himself and the machine, and to irritate the cop who was doing the

combative and they had their allotted share of human flaws, of which they themselves were often all too aware. But whatever they had done wrong the night before, the next morning when they were at the firehouse, they were able to take extra meaning from their lives, and to find some form of redemption because of the nature of the job, because of the risks they take for complete strangers. Scholz believed that outsiders would never be able to understand who these men were and what they did unless

to tell her to turn on the television set. “Why?” she asked. “Because a plane has just crashed into one of the World Trade Towers,” he said. “Where is your brother?” Her brother, also named Michael Otten, worked at the World Trade Center. “I think he’s in Tower Two,” she said. Indeed he was, working for Mizuho Capital on the eightieth floor of the south tower. “I need to go. I’ve got to get the boys on the bus,” she told him, referring to their three sons, Christopher, eleven, Jonathan, eight,

minutes later, when the second plane hit, she called him back. “I know, honey,” he said. “Look, I’ve got to go. I can’t talk any longer. I’ll talk to you later.” And that was it, she thought later, that was it. At the firehouse Steve Mercado was sometimes called Steve Muchacho, but more often Rico, a nickname coined by his close friend Mike Kotula, after “Rico Suave,” the early-’90s hit by the pop singer Gerardo. Mercado had grown up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. His father, who was

had had no unresolved issues between them. They had loved each other completely from the start, and they had always understood how lucky they were. There was nothing she wished she had said to him before he died. In late August they had finished the last major stage of renovating their apartment, just five blocks from the firehouse—they had taken two small apartments and merged them into one by knocking down some walls. Kevin, aided by his father, Hugh, a retired army sergeant major, and some of

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