A rare glimpse into the world of a smokejumper, these narratives take you along as he and his comrades parachute into the forests of America combating wildfires, working to exhaustion, laughing out loud at themselves and witnessing nature's astonishing beauty. From Virginia to Alaska and across the western United States, experience the struggles and hardships of this frequently grueling job and perhaps gains some insight into why so many consider it the best job they ever had.
Mark worked as a smokejumper for 31 seasons, helping to train hundreds of rookie smokejumpers and making 305 jumps to remote wildfires.
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Recent testimonials from readers:
• "Two things stand out for me. The first is your clarity. Your choice of vocabulary and diction leaves no mysteries and does it with a satisfying absence of arcane and esoteric language. The second thing that impressed me was your tasteful lack of hyperbole. You are writing about events that most people have never seen and can't even imagine. Danger, excitement, trauma, and tragedy are omnipresent. They are the ingredients of hyperbole and many authors can't resist the temptation to capitalize on them to add drama to their story. In my opinion that only cheapens the presentation. What adds quality (in my opinion) is when all of the ingredients for hyperbole are dispassionately illuminated by the facts alone. You have done a masterful job with that."
• " … a dynamite collection and telling of smokejumping stories which cover the gamut of smokejumper experience and thus include the many possible unusual, sometimes dangerous, occasionally weird, but always story worthy scenarios which can play out in this special brand of firefighting you know so intimately. Good job!"
• "Well done! Thank you for taking the time to so eloquently tell your story. Brilliant job!"
• "I don't know zip about smokejumping, forest fires or falling burning trees, but I never had to hesitate in understanding exactly what was happening and it opened up a window on something I was never aware of."
• "The book is a treasure! A link to a time and places and events that I think about frequently, and, as you said in one of the recollections, there was no place else I would have rather been in those years. Thank you so much for committing some of your best stories to pen and paper!"