Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
A heartbreaking, haunting book about smokejumpers’ deaths in a wildfire in Montana, written by a brilliant writer who knew he was nearing the end of his own life. This is the first book I began re-reading within days after reading it the first time. And it was equally devastating the second time around (and in subsequent re-readings). Maclean’s understated writing can make a person weep. For the full experience, listen to Richard Shindell’s definitive interpretation of James Keelaghan’s song “Cold Missouri Waters” on the CD Cry Cry Cry.