At first I was a bit bemused by the title but after reading the author's introduction, I can see where he's coming from. I spent 30 years in the fire service, and some of the latter incidents described are known to me and brought back vivid memories. The earlier incidents, outside London, however, were new to me, and they made interesting reading. Although the Blitz during World War Two is known to most people, what is not so well known is that most of the firefighters who took part were auxiliaries, many of them women, and it is when concentrating on this aspect of the story that I feel the author does the reader most service by highlighting the many, and at times almost incidental events, which taken together add up to an achievement of epic proportions. Stories of courage beyond the call of duty illustrate not only the relentlessness of the circumstances in which they found themselves, but also what ordinary men and women may be capable of in extraordinary circumstances. The Battle of Britain may have been fought and won in the air, but the battles for Britain's cities were fought and won by `warriors in fireboots' on the ground. The author has gathered together some fine examples of the battle against fire in both peacetime and war, and by doing so highlights that that battle continues to this day. Although at times I felt a more authoritative voice from the author might have been useful in guiding those not familiar with the background to these stories, I nevertheless consider this book a major addition to the story of the British fire service.
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