ORDER BOOKS DIRECTLY FROM THE AUTHOR:Autographed books are available directly from the author. Each book will be autographed and inscribed "Best wishes." If you want the book inscribed to an individual, include the name in the instructions, or send a separate email to John Maclean from the contact page. Note that Fire and Ashes is out of print and copies are available only while supplies last.
The Esperanza Fire:
Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57The long-awaited account of Southern California's catastrophic Esperanza Fire of 2006 -- and the capture and trial of arsonist Raymond Oyler -- has been released by Counterpoint Press of Berkeley, California. This is not a book about a wildfire, according to Steve Wilent, who reviewed the book for The Forestry Source a publication of the Society of American Foresters. " It is much more than that. With a keen eye and ear for detail and raw emotion, Maclean dissects the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths of five firefighters in 2006 after a wind-driven fire burned over their position on a ridge amidst a sea of chaparral and a few trees. Whether or not you've ever been on the front line of a wildfire, this book is a gut-wrenching, compelling narrative. It reads like a taut murder mystery, a whodunit novel you can't put down, with a cast of fascinating characters that includes shady suspects, a dogged detective, DNA evidence, a divided jury, and the victims' grieving family, friends, and colleagues."
HARDCOVER: AUDIO CD:
The Thirtymile Fire:
A CHRONICLE OF BRAVERY AND BETRAYALMaclean's third book, The Thirtymile Fire, has been called "Biography of a disaster." The book has garnered numerous accolades; Publishers Weekly called it "an evenhanded, lucid re-creation of catastrophe and its aftermath." Kirkus Reviews said it was a "richly descriptive chronicle of disaster from an expert on the subject." And National Geographic Adventure Magazine said, "Author John N. Maclean has become the Bob Woodward of forest fires, the nation's chief chronicler of the misjudgments, equipment failures, and accumulating gaffes that lead to tragedy on the fireline. The Thirtymile Fire, his third book on fatal infernos and their victims, is pitilessly compelling, the sort of saga devoured in one horrified reading."
Fire and Ashes:
ON THE FRONT LINES OF AMERICAN WILDFIREThis book is out of print; contact the author for availability and prices.
From Publishers Weekly: This collection of two long and two short essays on U.S. wildfire fighting displays the excellent reporting skills that made Maclean's first book, Fire on the Mountain, a dazzling and popular success. ... The longest section is a reconstruction of the 1953 Rattlesnake Fire on California's Mendocino National Forest, which killed 15 wildland firefighters. Maclean's dogged pursuit of reconstructing some key assumptions about the fire makes this a thriller in disguise. The highlight of the book is the second long piece on the 1999 Sadler Fire in Nevada, which displays all the power of his earlier work through a highly charged and exciting account of a firefighting crew's disastrous encounter with an uncontrollable fire.
Fire on the Mountain:
THE TRUE STORY OF THE SOUTH CANYON FIREFrom Publishers Weekly: With a reporter's objectivity and brisk prose, Maclean describes a series of small blunders in fire management that led to tragedy in July 1994 in western Colorado when a thunderstorm on Storm King Mountain, mislabeled by a dispatcher as South Canyon, killed 14 firefighters. As rain evaporated in the severe heat and drought, lightning ignited the high desert forest of scrub oak, piñon pine and juniper. Maclean's evenhandedness works against him: the reader longs for more outrage at the series of blunders and misfortunes that first led to a delay in responding to the fire and, later, to fatalities among those who battled the blaze. Maclean does bring the terrain and the fire to life with clarity and economy, and he paints a vivid portrait of the rugged firefighters who supply the most thrilling and saddest moments, men and women who displayed remarkable bravery and sheer physical effort. ... Nine of the deaths were hotshots from Prineville, Oregon. Maclean handles their deaths respectfully and manages to communicate the lessons to be drawn about fire management in the course of a suspenseful narrative filled with admirable, everyday heroes.
Fire on the Mountain:
THE TRUE STORY OF THE SOUTH CANYON FIREThe paperback edition of Fire on the Mountain is $15 and shipping is $5 -- see note at top of this page for autograph/inscription information. You can email John Maclean from the contact page if you have questions.
Young Men and Fire
NORMAN MACLEAN'S CLASSICOn August 5, 1949, a crew of fifteen of the United States Forest Service's smokejumpers stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Two hours after their jump, all but three were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean put back together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy.