Unabridged Access

15 July 2016

What I’m Listening to this Summer: Fernanda Santos’ The Fire Line

Our summer intern, Olivia, shares why she recommends listening to Fernanda Santos’ The Fire Line audiobook. The Fire Line is available as an unabridged CD and digital download: Audiobooks.com, Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, NOOK audiobooks, IndieBound, Libro.fm

Confession #1: Before starting my internship at Macmillan Audio, I had never picked up, much less listened to an audiobook. It’s all about holding something with pages you can turn, I’d proclaim to myself in my head, wincing under the weight of whatever four hundred-something page biography I was lugging around that month. I’m a nonfiction junkie when I have time for pleasure reading in between all of my books for school (I’m a very overcommitted college student with a very large backpack) and up until this summer, I thought I’d have to wait until I graduated to have the luxury of reading books I could choose myself on a consistent basis. Impossible, I’d think under the weight of my 500 pound bag, Jane Eyre until 2017! My disbelief and sore shoulders, however, disappeared my third week of work when I was given a copy of Fernanda Santos’ The Fire Line audiobook to listen to.

Confession #2: I am now a full- fledged audiobook fan, and my backpack has never been lighter.

The Fire Line tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a super elite wildfire fighting crew based in Prescott, AZ, and the fatal June 2013 wildfire that claimed the lives of nineteen of the twenty men—cementing the blaze as one of the deadliest in American history, and the biggest incidence of US firefighter fatality to date since 9/11. Fernanda Santos—the current Phoenix Bureau Chief for the New York Times—crafts a story that is all at once impeccably researched and arrestingly intimate. The Fire Line is a study in nature and humanity, pairing Santos’ stunning account of the Yarnell Hill fire and its aftermath with candid, heartbreaking portraits of the twenty Hotshots—profiling their triumphs, their failures, and their tremendous courage.

I couldn’t stop listening. Two days after receiving The Fire Line audiobook, I had listened to it in its entirety, clicking back to chapters as I re-listened and did my own research on the Granite Mountain Hotshots, wildfire fighting, and natural disasters. With a gripping narration by Ari Fliakos and a forward read by Santos herself, The Fire Line is heartbreaking, triumphant, and a must listen. Long live audiobooks!

Listen to an excerpt of Fernanda Santos’ The Fire Line, read by Ari Fliakos:

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