10 books like Young Men and Fire

By Norman MacLean,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Young Men and Fire. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Isaac's Storm

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Richard Hargreaves Author Of Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945

From the list on page-turning narrative history.

Who am I?

Narrative history isn’t about dates, kings, and queens. It’s about deeds, actions, experiences, decisions of people great and small. It’s about putting the reader in the middle of a drama and watching events unfold around them as if they were there so they can understand, observe, and perhaps ask: what would I have done? The best history writing shouldn’t just inform, but inspire you, make you feel: laugh, cry, feel angry, flinch at horrific sights, cheer the heroes, boo the villains, because history is made by ordinary people, good and bad, who possess many similar traits to the reader.

Richard's book list on page-turning narrative history

Discover why each book is one of Richard's favorite books.

Why did Richard love this book?

Isaac’s Storm brings the hurricane which hit Galveston, Texas, in September brilliantly to life, revolving around the central figure of the city’s official weatherman, Isaac Cline. 

I’ve read the book half a dozen times—it reads like a novel, its descriptions are vivid, horrific, haunting. The tension rises like the waters—it’s as close to being at the eye of a hurricane without… well you get the picture. Gripping from the first page to the last.

Isaac's Storm

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Isaac's Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, here is the true story of the deadliest hurricane in history.

National Bestseller

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline…


Rising Tide

By John M. Barry,

Book cover of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Karl F. Seidman Author Of Coming Home to New Orleans: Neighborhood Rebuilding After Katrina

From the list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans.

Who am I?

After hurricane Katrina, I was shocked by the scale of displacement and devastation, and the failed government response. I decided to use my planning classes at MIT to assist with rebuilding efforts. Over the next ten years, my students and I worked with several dozen organizations across New Orleans and provided ongoing assistance to three neighborhoods. Through this work and my relationships with many New Orleanians, I learned so much about the city and came to appreciate how special New Orleans, its way of life and people are.   

Karl's book list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans

Discover why each book is one of Karl's favorite books.

Why did Karl love this book?

There is no New Orleans without the Mississippi River.  

Rising Tide tells the story of government and engineers’ flawed efforts to control this mighty river, and how they contributed to the disastrous 1927 flood that left over one million people homeless and destroyed scores of towns. 

It provides a rich picture of the enduring social and racial divides in early twentieth-century New Orleans.

Moreover, it reveals how the city’s wealthy white leaders chose to flood neighboring communities to protect the city while undermining efforts to compensate the victims—creating a precedent for injustice and corruption, and ensuring a long-standing distrust of the city’s levees and flood control system.    

Rising Tide

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rising Tide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of almost one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of African Americans north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

The flood brought with it a human storm: white and black collided, honor…


Awakenings

By Oliver Sacks,

Book cover of Awakenings

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear

From the list on pandemics, historical, or fictional.

Who am I?

I divide my reading between works of imagination and historical nonfiction. All good fiction requires research to enhance it’s authenticity. Several years ago, I published a story set in the 1918 influenza epidemic. The research for the story was fascinating, and led me to John M. Barry’s book included in my recommendations. After editing a memoir for retired screenwriter and film director, Gerald Schnitzer (sadly now deceased), he invited me to co-author a novel set in the Four Corners featuring a virologist who combines science and spirituality to find a cure for a pandemic, which became Blood of the White Bear

Marcia's book list on pandemics, historical, or fictional

Discover why each book is one of Marcia's favorite books.

Why did Marcia love this book?

A fascinating, readable nonfiction account of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness as children in the great epidemic of 1918. They grew to adulthood in a Bronx hospital, frozen in sleep for decades. The prognosis was hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Sacks dared to try a new drug, L-DOPA, giving his patients an astonishing, explosive, “awakening.” Dr. Sacks recounts case histories of his patients, their lives, and extraordinary transformations from his treatment. This book is a passionate exploration of the most general questions of health, disease, suffering, care, and the human condition. The patients’ realization of themselves as adults is heartbreaking. Dr. Sacks wrote:Awakenings came from the most intense medical and human involvement I have ever know.”

Awakenings

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Awakenings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The story of a disease that plunged its victims into a prison of viscous time, and the drug that catapulted them out of it' - Guardian

Hailed as a medical classic, and the subject of a major feature film as well as radio and stage plays and various TV documentaries, Awakenings by Oliver Sacks is the extraordinary account of a group of twenty patients.

Rendered catatonic by the sleeping-sickness epidemic that swept the world just after the First World War, all twenty had spent forty years in hospital: motionless and speechless; aware of the world around them, but exhibiting no…


Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Mike Sielski Author Of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality

From the list on going beyond the final score.

Who am I?

I immersed myself in sports when I was young. Watched every game. Knew every statistic and piece of trivia. Lived and died with my favorite teams’ fortunes. But as I aged and became a writer, the outcomes of the games mattered less and less to me. The sports themselves mattered less and less. What mattered were the stories that I could uncover and tell—stories that, by the nature of sports and competition, branched into all the themes and fields of the human condition.

Mike's book list on going beyond the final score

Discover why each book is one of Mike's favorite books.

Why did Mike love this book?

One of the books that made me want to write books.

I will never forget the first time I read Hillenbrand’s description of a Tijuana racetrack where jockeys would submerge themselves into giant piles of horse manure, made sauna-like by the blazing sun, to shed weight.

One day, floodwaters from nearby mountain streams crashed through the town and the track, sweeping the piles into “a mighty shit Godzilla.” Every page of Seabiscuit is like that: tactile, with language that reads like a dream.

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Seabiscuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to…


Lost Mountain

By Erik Reece,

Book cover of Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness: Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia

Jess Barber Author Of Reckoning 2: Creative Writing on Environmental Justice

From the list on climate disaster.

Who am I?

I'm a speculative fiction writer who often works within the genre of "climate fiction." I grew up in southern Appalachia; my hometown is a lovely place, surrounded by the beauty and wildness of the Smoky Mountains. It also happens to be centered around a chemical company where a large portion of the town works, including my father and, for a brief time, myself. I've been fascinated with the dichotomy of nature and industry for a long time, and have spent years exploring these themes in my own work.

Jess' book list on climate disaster

Discover why each book is one of Jess' favorite books.

Why did Jess love this book?

I grew up in southern Appalachia. Every time I fly home to visit my family, I see the scars of mountaintop removal coal mining as the plane begins to descend over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lost Mountain chronicles the far-reaching effects of this devastating and unethical practice. I truly believe it ought to be required reading for anyone living in America today.

Lost Mountain

By Erik Reece,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lost Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new form of strip mining has caused a state of emergency for the Appalachian wilderness and the communities that depend on it-a crisis compounded by issues of government neglect, corporate hubris, and class conflict. In this powerful call to arms, Erik Reece chronicles the year he spent witnessing the systematic decimation of a single mountain and offers a landmark defense of a national treasure threatened with extinction.


Fever Dream

By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (translator),

Book cover of Fever Dream

Jess Barber Author Of Reckoning 2: Creative Writing on Environmental Justice

From the list on climate disaster.

Who am I?

I'm a speculative fiction writer who often works within the genre of "climate fiction." I grew up in southern Appalachia; my hometown is a lovely place, surrounded by the beauty and wildness of the Smoky Mountains. It also happens to be centered around a chemical company where a large portion of the town works, including my father and, for a brief time, myself. I've been fascinated with the dichotomy of nature and industry for a long time, and have spent years exploring these themes in my own work.

Jess' book list on climate disaster

Discover why each book is one of Jess' favorite books.

Why did Jess love this book?

Not all disasters are big and flashy. Some—most—are quiet, ambiguous, and hard to pin down until well after the fact. Fever Dream is a brilliant, unsettling, deeply claustrophobic story that unfurls this sort of disaster in the subtlest and most terrifying way imaginable. Originally published in 2014 (in Spanish, as Distancia de rescate), Fever Dream has appeared on every list of recommended eco-horror fiction in the last few years, and for absolutely good cause.

Fever Dream

By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fever Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2017

'The book I wish I had written' Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women and Animal

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a remote Argentinian hospital. A boy named David sits beside her.

She's not his mother. He's not her child.

At David's ever more insistent prompting, Amanda recounts a series of events from the apparently recent past, a conversation that opens a chest of horrors. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.

A chilling tale of maternal anxiety and ecological…


A Fire Story

By Brian Fies,

Book cover of A Fire Story

Jess Barber Author Of Reckoning 2: Creative Writing on Environmental Justice

From the list on climate disaster.

Who am I?

I'm a speculative fiction writer who often works within the genre of "climate fiction." I grew up in southern Appalachia; my hometown is a lovely place, surrounded by the beauty and wildness of the Smoky Mountains. It also happens to be centered around a chemical company where a large portion of the town works, including my father and, for a brief time, myself. I've been fascinated with the dichotomy of nature and industry for a long time, and have spent years exploring these themes in my own work.

Jess' book list on climate disaster

Discover why each book is one of Jess' favorite books.

Why did Jess love this book?

Another fire, another story, this one a graphic memoir about the 2017 wildfires that ravaged Northern California, claiming dozens of lives and destroying the author's home. It's a beautiful book, illustrated with a simplicity and starkness that pulls you inexorably forward. The night of the fire itself is present in the narrative, but the majority of the book is occupied with what comes after: the unexpected kindness of friends and strangers, the nonlinear progression of grief, the bureaucracy and absurdism of tragedy, and all the questions of how you begin to rebuild.

A Fire Story

By Brian Fies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fire Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures and were destroyed. Author Brian Fies's firsthand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn't fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online-it immediately went viral. He is now expanding his original webcomic…


Master of Poisons

By Andrea Hairston,

Book cover of Master of Poisons

Jess Barber Author Of Reckoning 2: Creative Writing on Environmental Justice

From the list on climate disaster.

Who am I?

I'm a speculative fiction writer who often works within the genre of "climate fiction." I grew up in southern Appalachia; my hometown is a lovely place, surrounded by the beauty and wildness of the Smoky Mountains. It also happens to be centered around a chemical company where a large portion of the town works, including my father and, for a brief time, myself. I've been fascinated with the dichotomy of nature and industry for a long time, and have spent years exploring these themes in my own work.

Jess' book list on climate disaster

Discover why each book is one of Jess' favorite books.

Why did Jess love this book?

My favorite fantasy books are always ones that use the lens of genre to help us better understand the world we live in, and Master of Poisons accomplishes this with bells on. An epic fantasy set in a world where climate disaster looms, Master of Poisons draws from Hairston's extensive research and experience in West African, African-American, and Indigenous cultures to weave a rich narrative tapestry that casts an unflinching eye on sources of evil and cruelty, while still always finding a way to offer hope.

Master of Poisons

By Andrea Hairston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Master of Poisons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This is a prayer hymn, a battle cry, a love song, a legendary call and response bonfire talisman tale. This is medicine for a broken world." —Daniel José Older

Named a Best of 2020 Pick for Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2020

Award-winning author Andrea Hairston weaves together African folktales and postcolonial literature into unforgettable fantasy in Master of Poisons

The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic…


Fire Season

By Philip Connors,

Book cover of Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

Andrew Vietze Author Of This Wild Land: Two Decades of Adventure as a Park Ranger in the Shadow of Katahdin

From the list on park rangers and the wild places they protect.

Who am I?

Andrew Vietze was five years old when he told his older sister that one day, he would be a park ranger. Twenty-eight years later, he put on his badge for the first time as a seasonal ranger in one of the premier wilderness areas in the East, Maine’s Baxter State Park. Home of Katahdin and the terminus of the Appalachian Trail, “Forever Wild” Baxter has no pavement, no electricity, no stores, no cell service. As a boy, Vietze imagined a life flying around in helicopters, rescuing hikers off mountaintops, fighting forest fires, chasing wilderness despoilers, and plucking people out of raging rivers. And he's spent the past twenty years doing just that.

Andrew's book list on park rangers and the wild places they protect

Discover why each book is one of Andrew's favorite books.

Why did Andrew love this book?

Technically not a park ranger (but close enough), Philip Connors works seasonally as a fire lookout in one of the last remaining fire towers in the nation,10,000 feet above sea level in the vast fastness of the Gila National Wilderness of New Mexico. From his 7’ by 7’ tower, he oversees a huge swath of a 2.7 million-acre wilderness that seems to want to burn, seeing more than 30,000 lightning strikes a year. It’s a rugged, remote, lonely landscape – and a singular way of life. Like me, Connors left a job as an editor to take up in the wilderness in 2002, and like me, he returns every season because it’s where he belongs. Fire Season explores the history of the Forest Service, fire management, and wilderness conservation in a can’t-put-it-down fashion.

Fire Season

By Philip Connors,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fire Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've watched deer and elk frolic in the meadow below me, and pine trees explode in a blue ball of smoke. If there's a better job anywhere on the planet, I'd like to know what it is.'

For nearly a decade, Philip Connors has spent half of each year in a small room at the top of a tower, on top of a mountain, alone in millions of acres of remote American wilderness. His job: to look for wildfires.

Capturing the wonder and grandeur of this most unusual job and place, Fire Season evokes both the eerie pleasure of solitude…


Windigo Fire

By M.H. Callway,

Book cover of Windigo Fire

Rosemary McCracken Author Of Uncharted Waters

From the list on Canadian mysteries.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian writer who started writing fiction after a career as a journalist at newspapers across the country. I’ve always marvelled at the diversity of Canada, and I try to portray that diversity in my own stories set in Toronto, one of the world’s most multicultural cities. And I revel in stories by fellow Canadian crime writers, tales filled with First Nations characters, and characters with Ukrainian, Russian, Asian, African, and British backgrounds, stories set in various parts of our far-flung country. The five novels I have focused on here are just a few of my favorites.

Rosemary's book list on Canadian mysteries

Discover why each book is one of Rosemary's favorite books.

Why did Rosemary love this book?

Windigo Fire, M.H. Callway’s 2014 debut novel, is set in one of my favorite Canadian locations—the Northern Ontario wilderness. It’s an adventure thriller filled with fast-paced action, psychological suspense, and First Nation legends. It has a fabulous sense of place, and a terrific cast of characters, headed by its Native Canadian protagonist, Danny Bluestone. A truly Canadian crime thriller.

Windigo Fire

By M.H. Callway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Windigo Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Danny Bluestone, a young Native Canadian drifting through life, settles for a job at a children's camp in his Northern Ontario hometown of Red Dog Lake. Local entrepreneur, Meredith Easter, offers Danny some easy money: play the role of native scout for his wealthy hunting buddies. Danny knows that Easter's roadside attraction, Santa's Fish Camp, is the front for the local grow-op, and probably more, but the money is his way out of Red Dog Lake.

Danny flies the hunters to an island lodge deep in the wilderness. Once there, he learns that he's part of an illegal bear hunt…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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