Lesson 1 (from Introduction)
Dennis Smith quotes Katherine Anne Porter as saying that sometimes a book must find its author. The combination of Smith's writing ability and the fact that nobody had ever told the story of firefighters before led to the publication of this book, which is today viewed as a classic. This lesson focuses on Smith's unique ability to convey the true lives of firefighters.
1. Class Discussion: Smith is a member of a profession not known for producing great works of literature or memoir. How did Smith's intimate knowledge of the firefighters' culture provide him with the ability to write so well about their lives? Can being steeped in a particular atmosphere provide the inspiration to write a classic even if someone does not have a literary background? If Smith had been simply a writer and not a firefighter, would he have been able to produce...
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