Cover image for Firehouse
Halberstam, David.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
[Waterville, ME] : Wheeler Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
195 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6432 .H35 2002B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist offers an intimate portrait of Engine 40, Ladder 35 on the Upper West Side of New York City, which lost 12 men in the World Trade Center attack.

Author Notes

David Halberstam was born on April 10, 1934 in New York City and later attended Harvard University. After graduating in 1955, Halberstam worked at a small daily newspaper until he attained a position at the Nashville Tennessean.

Halberstam has written over 20 books including The Children, a written account of his coverage of the Civil Rights Movement; The Best and Brightest, which was a bestseller; and The Game and October, 1964, both detailing his fascination of sports. Halberstam also won a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the Vietnam War while working for the New York Times. He was killed in a car crash on April 23, 2007 at the age of 73.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Pulitzer Prize winner Halberstam lives on Manhattan's West Side, a few blocks from the Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse, which lost 12 of the 13 men sent to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Before that horrendous day, Halberstam had never been inside the firehouse; in writing this book, he spent two and a half months there, learning about the men who died and the nature of firehouse culture in general. The result is an uncomplicated, directly told, heart-stoppingly affective story of great personal sacrifice--not only the sacrifice of the men who never returned to the fire station from lower Manhattan that day but also the horrible rent torn in the lives of their families. We get to know the firemen as Halberstam got to know them: ordinary men who performed extraordinarily and whose lives are, fortunately, not left unsung. We also get to know their wives, children, parents, and siblings, who were called on to accept a tremendous loss. A difficult book to pick up but one that is equally difficult to put down. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Halberstam's gripping chronicle of a company of Manhattan firemen on September 11 is moving without ever becoming grossly sentimental an impressive achievement, though readers have come to expect as much from the veteran historian and journalist (author, most recently, of War in a Time of Peace). Engine 40, Ladder 35, a firehouse near Lincoln Center, sent 13 men to the World Trade Center, 12 of whom died. Through interviews with surviving colleagues and family members, Halberstam pieces together the day's events and offers portraits of the men who perished from rookie Mike D'Auria, a former chef who liked to read about Native American culture, to Captain Frank Callahan, greatly respected by the men for his dedication and exacting standards, even if he was rather distant and laconic (when someone performed badly at a fire he would call them into his office and simply give him "The Look," a long, excruciating stare: "Nothing needed to be said the offender was supposed to know exactly how he had transgressed, and he always did"). The book also reveals much about firehouse culture the staunch code of ethics, the good-natured teasing, the men's loyalty to each other in matters large and small (one widow recalls that when she and her husband were planning home renovations, his colleagues somehow found out and showed up unasked to help, finishing the job in record time). Though he doesn't go into much detail about the technical challenges facing the fire department that day, Halberstam does convey the sheer chaos at the site and, above all, the immensity of the loss for fellow firefighters. (May 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The phrase "read it and weep" carries a flip connotation, but those who pick up this book will literally read it and weep. Pulitzer Prize winner Halberstam spent over two and a half months, beginning last October, at the Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse, located on Manhattan's West Side. On the morning of September 11 two rigs from that house had responded to the World Trade Center attack; 13 men went out, and one came back alive. Here, the author offers us short, personal looks at these men, with details provided by brother firefighters, spouses, family, and friends, and we see how 9/11 made its awful mark on the dozen who perished, those they left behind, and the one who survived. Ex-firefighter Dennis Smith's recent Report from Ground Zero paints a much broader and, owing to his background, more personal picture of the disaster, but if he captures its mind-boggling enormity Halberstam succeeds as well at emphasizing the individual grief it caused by focusing narrowly on just his 13 men. Recommended for all libraries. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.