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The Last Men Out
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About the Author

Tom Downey is the nephew of the late, legendary Ray Downey, former Chief of Rescue Operations for the NYFD, who arranged for Tom to live and work with Rescue 2's men in order to make a film (which aired on the Learning Channel). Tom spent almost two years in the firehouse before 9/11, when his uncle died, and has continued reporting since that disaster.

Reviews

The New York Fire Department is large enough to have specialist rescue units, groups of highly trained firefighters who are called in when a fire is particularly dangerous or people are trapped. They are physically indomitable and extremely competitive. Downey, a filmmaker and writer who grew up among firefighters, chronicles the building of the elite Rescue 2 company, which practices in Brooklyn and was recognized as one of the best in the country. On 9/11, Rescue 2 charged full force into the World Trade Center and was decimated. While much of the book is concerned with the camaraderie, bonding, humor, and training of the men, the last third or so is concerned with their reaction to the tragedy of losing dozens of friends, relatives, and comrades. Downey, nephew of one of the firefighters killed on 9/11, obviously loves and respects the FDNY and has ably expressed the emotional involvement of firefighters with their profession and their coworkers. The author spent more than a year at the firehouse before 9/11 and continued his research afterward. Recommended for public libraries and subject collections.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Deputy Chief Ray Downey, the most highly decorated firefighter in the history of the FDNY, died during the World Trade Center rescue operations, but months earlier, he had arranged for his nephew, filmmaker Tom Downey, to make a documentary on the emergency experts of Brooklyn's Rescue Company No. 2, the "most active firefighting unit in the city." After the completed film, Still Riding: Rescue Company New York City, aired on September 11, 2002, Tom Downey continued his research, writing about firefighters for the New York Times. For this book, he follows the efforts of the new captain, Phil Ruvolo, to take command and establish a rapport with his men. Interweaving the history and lore of landmark fires with daily chores and rituals, Downey recreates the firehouse's kitchen table banter and sardonic humor. He probes the physical toll and psychological problems firefighters experience, along with the job's dangers: "Crawling in for a job, a fireman would feel the linoleum, think it was safe to enter, and then fall through." Limning individual personalities and capturing the company's camaraderie with amusing anecdotes, Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies. The concluding chapters document 9/11 and its aftermath from the firemen's point of view: the "horrible losses" resulting in a massive shortage of qualified firefighters to fill the ranks of the rescue and squad companies. Agent, Heather Schroder. (June 1) Forecast: With national print ads, media appearances and an endorsement by Dennis Smith (Report from Engine Company 82), Downey's chronicle should find a welcome audience among firefighting buffs. A third of the author's royalties will go to the Chief Ray Downey Scholarship Fund and the Rescue 2 Memorial Fund. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Praise for "The Last Men Out:
"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental."--"New York Daily News
"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism."--"Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies."--"Publisher's Weekly
"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out. . . . Downey does a masterful job."--James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, "The Roanoke Times

Praise for "The Last Men Out: "

"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental."--"New York Daily News"

"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)

"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies."--"Publisher's Weekly"

"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out". . . . Downey does a masterful job."--James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, "The Roanoke Times"

Praise for "The Last Men Out: "
"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental."--"New York Daily News"
"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)
"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies."--"Publisher's Weekly"
"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out." . . . Downey does a masterful job."--James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, "The Roanoke Times"

"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental."--"New York Daily News"
"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)
"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies."--"Publisher's Weekly"
"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out." . . . Downey does a masterful job."--James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, "The Roanoke Times"

"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental." --"New York Daily News"

"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism." --"Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"

"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies." --"Publisher's Weekly"

"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out." . . . Downey does a masterful job." --"James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, The Roanoke Times"


This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental. "New York Daily News"

Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism. "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"

Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies. "Publisher's Weekly"

I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's "The Last Men Out." . . . Downey does a masterful job. "James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, The Roanoke Times""


This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental. New York Daily News

Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies. Publisher's Weekly

I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's The Last Men Out. . . . Downey does a masterful job. James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, The Roanoke Times

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"This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental." --New York Daily News

"Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies." --Publisher's Weekly

"I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's The Last Men Out. . . . Downey does a masterful job." --James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, The Roanoke Times

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