Macmillan published my new book in March.


COOPER, Michael L. Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them. 144p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Holt. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780805097146.

Fire has shaped the landscape of America since Colonial times. Cooper has taken this high-interest topic and used primary sources to relate how firefighters fought those blazes. He covers famous urban disasters, such as the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake/​fire, among others. The firefighting and rescue efforts of September 11, 2001, are discussed in detail. Cooper also delves into lesser-known fires, such as the one aboard the excursion boat the General Slocum, in 1904, which killed 1,021 people. The author does an excellent job of relating advances in fire safety and firefighting techniques to the lessons learned from these tragedies. Relying upon sources that range from Colonial diaries to modern television news transcripts, he incorporates eyewitness accounts to strengthen his writing. The tone of writing is dramatic but not sensationalized. In all, this well-researched book should circulate if demand for firefighting materials is high. In addition, libraries in or around the areas featured (Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Diego County) may wish to purchase for local interest.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

First Review. From Kirkus.

Review Issue Date: January 15, 2014
Online Publish Date: January 8, 2014
Publisher:Henry Holt
Pages: 208
Price ( Hardcover ): $19.99
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8050-9714-6
Category: Nonfiction

The history of firefighting in the United States is explored through the stories of 10 important fires.

Some are familiar stories, others less well-known. It begins with the largest in Colonial history, the Boston fire of 1760 that some saw as judgment from God even as they sought to make improvements in the city’s ability to respond to future blazes. The change in city skylines that occurred after the Chicago fire is discussed, and fires in Baltimore, New York and San Francisco in the early 20th century, deemed the “great urban fires,” led to important changes in regulations, building codes and firefighting techniques. Workplace tragedies such as the one that occurred at the Triangle Waist Company led to changes in laws protecting workers. The devastating loss of life in the attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrated the vulnerability of modern buildings. The volume concludes with a look at one of California’s worst wildfires. Each of the 10 incidents seems carefully chosen to provide a different angle to the history of American firefighting. Readers can chart progress and setbacks as firefighters worked to improve their techniques and communities attempted to make their buildings and environments safer.

A dramatic narrative, richly illustrated and solidly supported. (museums to visit, recommended reading, websites, source notes, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)