|author:||Philip Connors (2012)|
|date read:||22 January 2017|
|rating:||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
Fire spotters are a rare breed, and becoming rarer still. I’ve always found the idea appealing (even if I’m not sure I’d enjoy it in practice) – I suspect that’s why I enjoyed the book so much.
I expected to hear about the experience of being a fire lookout – the solitude, the wilderness, the loneliness – and on that, the book delivers. It’s really an account of a single year in the tower: five months spent in the Gila wilderness, with nothing but his dog for company. But the author also interleaves a lot of history and background on fire towers and the US Forest Service, which provides both interesting facts and useful context for the narrative. It also doesn’t pull its punches – the book is critical of some of the Forest Service decisions, and makes clear the strain it puts on his relationships.
There are definitely some rough edges, but overall I enjoyed the read.
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