Barry Roberts Greer Readable Prose
Barry Roberts Greer
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Synopsis: "Seven Two" is about firefighting like "Moby Dick" is about whaling. If you want to read a title that is strictly a hose opera, I'd suggest "Pipe Nozzle" or "Engine 10." This narrative connects the Pequot Massacre and the Chelsea and other conflagrations with destructive corruption through use a single metaphor---fire. "The call came in around 6:15 pm, early evening, but already dark in the third week in January, and cold. A pedestrian passing Mahan's Fine Furniture on Bank Street stopped by headquarters to report that he thought he smelled smoke, although he said he couldn't see anything through the large display window facing the street: 'It looks like the lights are all out inside.' Engines 1 and 7, Truck 2, and the ambulance responded as the usual first alarm assignment with eight people and one duty officer, the shift captain. Sean O'Conner was driving Truck 2, and, on orders from the Captain, tossed an ax through the display window. And the word 'toss' is correct. On orders from the Captain, who suspected the worst, they positioned all apparatus in the middle of Bank Street away from the three story brick facade building, and then everyone stayed at their apparatus ready to react to whatever happened after O'Conner threw the ax from ten feet at the glass just like a Pequot warrior swinging a club at the skull of an Englishman. . . ."

Comments: "A first-rate story of civilization and its discontents, by a master writer." -- William Howarth, Princeton University

"Greer knows what he is talking about, and he tells the stories elegantly and convincingly. So, read this book." -- Dennis Smith, Report from Engine Co. 82

"Greer writes books the same way he lives life: full-forward and with an uncompromising integrity. The stories in Seven Two are in fact ecological in the fullest sense of that term, for ultimately they are stories about the impossibility of civilization's ever decisively asserting its mastery over nature." -- David Mazel, Adams State