The Reading List: Firefighting

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The Independent Culture


'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury (Flamingo Modern Classics) £7.99

Bradbury's classic imagines a world where firemen don't put out fires – they start them, holding regular book burnings. In a world where independent thought and creativity are frowned upon, the superficial signs – the songs and rituals – of contentment are prized. Amid the forced optimism is fireman Guy Montag, whose own doubts about the system are reinforced when his well-read neighbour, Clarisse, disappears.


'The Great Fire of London: In That Apocalyptic Year, 1666' by Neil Hanson (John Wiley & Sons) £15.20

Drawing on a vast array of primary and secondary sources, he posits various intriguing theories – but it's the descriptions that really make the work worth reading. With all the flair of a novelist, he conjures up apocalyptic images of London burning.


'Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center' by Richard Picciotto (Berkley Hardcover) £17.83

Recent celebrations at Ground Zero demonstrate just how far those two planes penetrated the American psyche. In this gripping memoir, Picciotto relives his experience as an FDNY battalion commander trapped between floors.


'Firefighter's Handbook: Essentials of Firefighting: Basics of Firefighting'(Thomson Delmar Learning) £37.99

This definitive handbook includes a dedicated chapter on large incident and disaster response, information on fire life safety initiatives, managing air supply, emergency checks, predicting building collapse, GPS technology and the use of thermal imaging. It even deals with the response to terrorism.


'Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Explosion Aboard the Deepwater Horizon' by Tom Shroder And John Konrad (Harper Collins) £15.99

This up-to-the-minute work recounts how the worst environmental disaster in American history unfolded, throwing the Gulf into a crisis which still rumbles on.