The men in Charles Kenney's family have been drawn to firefighting since his grandfather Charles "Pops" Kenney joined the Boston Fire Department in 1932. In his working class, Irish-Catholic neighborhood, there were other jobs that offered a decent wage, but none had the sense of belonging that comes with being a fireman, or the purity of purpose that comes with saving lives. Pops was on the scene of the notorious Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942; the author's father, "Sonny" served with distinction until an explosion blew him from a third-story window; and two of the author's brothers were "sparks" as children, amateur firefighters, whose career goals were thwarted by a court order integrating the Boston fire department and changing the rules for employment forever. One became a cop, the other a paramedic and rescue man with an elite squad sent to Ground Zero in the aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Center. Spanning sixty years of firefighting history in America, Rescue Men captures what it's really like to be a fireman.
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Last Call at the 7-Eleven: Fine Dining at 2 A.M. The Search for Spandex People and Other Reasons to Go On Living
- PublicAffairs, January 2007
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