Forest fires, terrorism, war: explorations of danger by the author of The Perfect Storm.
In Fire, Sebastian Junger brings to bear the same meticulous prose that made A Perfect Storm a modern classic onto the inner workings of a terrifying elemental force—an out-of-control inferno burning in the steep canyons of Idaho—and the cast of characters risking everything to bring that force under control.
Few writers have been to so many desperate corners of the globe as has Sebastian Junger; fewer still have provided such starkly memorable evocations of characters and events. From the murderous mechanics of the diamond trade in Sierra Leone to the logic of guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan and the forensics of genocide in Kosovo, this collection of Junger's nonfiction will take you places you wouldn't dream of going to on your own.
Danger junkies rejoice! The Perfect Storm king returns with no, not a new booklength narrative, but a collection of previously published magazine articles. Junger spent the last few years documenting some of the world's toughest places: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia, as well as nonmilitary hot spots like American wildfires. His reporting on wartime atrocities for Vanity Fair is well known, and his wilderness stories for adventure magazines like Outside and Men's Health have brought him an enormous extra-book readership. Junger's newest can be considered a sort of early Greatest Hits volume, wherein Junger's disaster-zone reporting will whet the appetites of risk voyeurs everywhere. Consider his interview with Afghan guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud ("After we'd spent half an hour ducking the shells, the commander said he'd just received word that Taliban troops were preparing to attack the position, and it might be better if we weren't around for it"), or his Kosovo klatch with Serbian paramilitaries ("The men grinned broadly at us. One of them wasn't holding a gun in his hands. He was holding a huge double-bladed ax."). But Junger is more than a dispassionate adventure-monger; he is an observer awed by the courage of "people confronting situations that could easily destroy them." Whether describing the trials of airborne forest firefighters or the occupational hazards of old-fashioned harpoon-and-rope whale hunting, Junger challenges readers to reconsider their fondness for ease: "Life in modern society is designed to eliminate as many unforeseen events as possible, and as inviting as that seems, it leaves us hopelessly underutilized. And that is where the idea of 'adventure' comes in."