Working Fire

The Making of a Fireman

A remarkable memoir, by turns funny and deeply moving, of one man’s coming into his calling and his transformation from ambivalent Ivy League grad to skilled and dedicated firefighter.

Zac Unger didn’t feel like much of a firefighter at first. Most of his fellow recruits seemed to have planned for the job all their lives; he was an Ivy League grad responding to a help-wanted ad at an Oakland bus stop. He couldn’t keep his boots shined, and he looked horrible in his uniform. Working Fire is the story of how, from this unlikely beginning, Zac Unger came to feel at home among this close-knit tribe, came to master his work’s demands, and came to know what it is to see the city of Oakland through a firefighter’s eyes.

From the materials of his day’s work – the harrowing calls and the hilarious, the moments of triumph and of grief – Zac Unger has forged a timeless story of finding one’s path. He never takes himself too seriously, but he comes to take his job very seriously. Because he tells his story with such extraordinary empathy and wit, his fierce passion for his work, his comrades, and the city he protects becomes our own.

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Working Fire
The Making of a Fireman
by Zac Unger

Ages 18 and up
Paperback, 272 pages
Published by Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 22, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0143034952
ISBN-13: 978-0143034957

Also available in hardcover.



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