Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
Young Men and Fire is a non-fiction book written by Norman Maclean and edited by his son, John Norman Maclean. It is an account of Norman Maclean's research of the Mann Gulch fire of 1949 and the 13 men who died there. The fire occurred in Mann Gulch in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness on August 5. Norman Maclean and Laird Robinson try to forensically decipher the official report of the United States Forest Service of the fire, the testimony of the four men who fought the fire and lived, along with the research and report of Harry T. Gisborne (who would suffer a fatal heart attack at Mann Gulch two months later trying to get to the bottom of the tragedy) and his companion on the ridge that day, Robert Jansson. Jansson was ranger of the Helena National Forest's Canyon Ferry District, the area that included Mann Gulch, on duty the day of the fire. Maclean and Laird would also take the only two living survivors of the fire team (Wag Dodge died in 1955), Walter Rumsey and Robert Sallee, back to the scene of the fire in 1978, hoping that walking the ground again would help solve some of the missing pieces. Additionally Laird and Maclean would use the modern Fire Lab, and their mathematical analysis, advances in fire methodology not available in 1949, to search for answers to the fire.