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Download Ghosts of the Fireground: Echoes of the Great Peshtigo Fire and the Calling of a Wildland Firefighter epub

by Peter M. Leschak

A wildland firefighter recounts moments from his career and the history of firefighting while describing the events of the disastrous Peshtigo, Wisconsin, fire of 1871, as documented in the diary of one of its survivors.
Download Ghosts of the Fireground: Echoes of the Great Peshtigo Fire and the Calling of a Wildland Firefighter epub
ISBN: 0062517775
ISBN13: 978-0062517777
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Peter M. Leschak
Language: English
Publisher: HarperOne (July 2, 2002)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1248 kb
FB2 size: 1936 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 797
Other Formats: doc txt lit azw

Mr. Leschak writes quite well, I think. But, as was stated in other reviews, unless you have a real interest in wildfire fighting from a "line boss" point of view, this effort is less about Peshtigo and firefighting than it is about Mr. Leschak's personal spiritual journey and his finding personal fulfillment leading a fire crew. He is quite unapologetic about his disavowal of all things religious, having become quite immersed in his own revelation as it relates to the natural world.

What he does share about Peshtigo is enlightening and very absorbing. It is not as wanting as some might think, and the author ties in his own personal spiritual turmoil with the Catholic priest's encounter with the fury of nature (or is it an act of judgment?). Unfortunately, what one does read about the Peshtigo fire is about what you'd expect in a magazine story; just enough to whet your appetite for more.
Tyler Is Not Here
I am a career firefighter who spent the better part of the 1980's fighting wildland fires. The topic of this book was inviting and it did not disappoint. Having read the book I decided to take a look at the reviews here on Amazon. The critical reviews strike me as odd. The book is criticized for being too descriptive and for using big words. In reference to this book this is like criticizing a car for having wheels and an engine. The other points of criticism is that the book is not a synopsis of the Peshtigo fire the reader was looking for and that Mr. Leschak devotes too much text to writing about himself. This book is exactly what the title implies. It is about Mr. Leschak's calling as a firefighter and he does echo events of the Peshtigo fire. Mr. Leschak wildland career came about mostly by chance. What he thought would be a temporary job became his calling. This is especially illustrated by contrast to his previous decision to pursue the ministry, a calling he later felt was not the right one.

Mr. Leschak finds in history an interesting character in the person of Father Pernin. Father Pernin was a man of the cloth who lived through the Peshtigo fire and wrote of his experiences. Leschak relates to Father Pernin no doubt in part because of the similarities in their callings. He uses his own experiences as a firefighter to echo and attempt understanding of the extraordinary events Father Pernin experienced. The author talks about his own experiences and progress by placing them in this larger environment. His use of descriptiveness is excellent.

The book will best be appreciated by a reader with a wildland background but I believe it is accessible and worthwhile to other readers as well. Mr. Leschak loves language and his use here is always appropriate. "Big" words are not that big and technical jargon is avoided. He simply writes with a literary approach. All semantics are implied by context but all good readers know that reading is about expanding one's horizons and a good dictionary should always be close at hand while reading any good book. I did write a few words down so I may later explore their broader application and I feel I am the better for it. Mr. Leschak is humble and never brags on himself. This is an excellent idea for a book and he executes it wonderfully. It is not a how to book and Waldo is not hiding anywhere here. This is literature, and good literature at that. I came to like Mr. Leschak from these pages and I am thankful for the stories he told me.
I was VERY disappointed with this book because it was recommended as a good account of the Peshtigo fire; yet, what the author actually had to say about this event could have fit into less than one chapter. I could not, however, justify giving it only one star as what he did say about the fire was interesting. This book would probably be read with great interest by those excited by helicopters and/or fighting wildfires as these are the real focuses of this book. Time after time, when I expected the author to really get into the Peshtigo fire, I was dismayed once again to find he once again goes into a long litany about himself which seems to be his true obsession. I got very tired of his self-praise and importance, his use of "big words" - as though to impress when plain language would have suited better, his over-emphasis on descriptive phrasing, and incomplete sentences! If you want to read about the Peshtigo fire, don't bother with this book.
Although I may be biased because I have known Mr. Leschak for several years, I believe that reviewing a book is about perspective. Some of the negative reviews reflect readers who do not understand the wildland firefighter perspective, but were looking for a historical look at Peshtigo. The title of the book, I think, plainly describes the content, and I think it was very well written between stories of his life and the flashback to Peshtigo. His reflection on his experience with religion saddens me, but his search isn't over yet, and I look forward to other writings he may have in the future. If you are interested in firefighting, or are a firefighter, this book is right down your dozer line!
Felt like I was there in the helicopter seeing the fire and situation.
Brought forth a forgotten and overshadowed fire.
I guess I've seen too many crazy things on the fireline to appreciate this book much at all.
Ghosts of the Fireground was a gift from a friend and not the kind of book I tend to pick for myself. As often is the case, however, we don't like green eggs and ham until we try them, Sam-I-am.
Peter Leschak is a tremendous writer and this book defies easy classification. It certainly is an intriguing memoir; it reads like a good novel; and in parts is as inspirational as any self-help book I have read. I checked the back cover to see how it is "officially" classified: Adventure. Yes, it is that too.
As a psychotherapist and author (Embracing Fear, HarperSanFrancisco) who teaches people to face their fears, I have recommended this book to a couple of clients as an example of someone who does not live a life controlled by fear. In saying that, I am not just talking about the courage Leschak shows as a firefighter, but more importantly I see him as a role model for anyone who wants to live their life on their own terms.
Read this one ... in a box, or with a fox ... here or there ... anywhere.
Thom Rutledge
author of Embracing Fear