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あらすじ・解説

This program features a bonus clip with archival recordings from several of the inmate firefighters and the author.

A dramatic, revelatory account of the female inmate firefighters who battle California wildfires.

Shawna was overcome by the claustrophobia, the heat, the smoke, the fire, all just down the canyon and up the ravine. She was feeling the adrenaline, but also the terror of doing something for the first time. She knew how to run with a backpack; they had trained her physically. But that’s not training for flames. That’s not live fire.

California’s fire season gets hotter, longer, and more extreme every year - fire season is now year-round. Of the thousands of firefighters who battle California’s blazes every year, roughly 30 percent of the on-the-ground wildland crews are inmates earning a dollar an hour. Approximately 200 of those firefighters are women serving on all-female crews.

In Breathing Fire, Jaime Lowe expands on her revelatory work for The New York Times Magazine. She has spent years getting to know dozens of women who have participated in the fire camp program and spoken to captains, family and friends, correctional officers, and camp commanders. The result is a rare, illuminating look at how the fire camps actually operate - a story that encompasses California’s underlying catastrophes of climate change, economic disparity, and historical injustice, but also draws on deeply personal histories, relationships, desires, frustrations, and the emotional and physical intensity of firefighting.

Lowe’s reporting is a groundbreaking investigation of the prison system, and an intimate portrayal of the women of California’s Correctional Camps who put their lives on the line, while imprisoned, to save a state in peril.

A Macmillan Audio production from MCD

©2021 Jaime Lowe (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

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  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sophie
  • 2021/08/11

Heartbreaking story of the plight of the incarcerated and women in general

This book is a must read for any Californian, anyone that cares about our communities and our state, as well as those that live in it. Truly heartbreaking to hear about these women who have been down on their luck be abused and traumatized while incarcerated instead of receiving the therapy and rehabilitation they need. Even worse to hear how their troubles follow them after they have done their time, where it is hard or impossible to find jobs because of their records. This is a great way to renew the call for prison reform. These women and their male counterparts put their lives on the line and don’t even get paid a firefighters wage to do it. You need to read this book.

4 stars on performance because there were points where the audio was obviously spliced in that were a bit jarring, otherwise author was great.

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • cougargrl7
  • 2021/08/05

What's up with this audio?

I'm rather annoyed with Breathing Fire so far. I'm still listening to it, so for now I've rated it a 3, but this audio issue needs to be mentioned.

The story is interesting, but they have the author and another woman listed as readers. One of them is doing most of the reading, I guess, but she either really changes her voice for a sentence or two (or even just a few words) for no apparent reason or the other woman reads those lines. It's not to act like she's talking as someone else to emphasize that person's words...at one point she was just describing what one of the women was wearing. It's jarring and totally unnecessary. It's almost like they recorded it before the author finished the physical book then went back and dubbed in parts that she added on a final edit or something...then the narrator forgot what voice she used, couldn't do that voice again for some reason, or they couldn't get her and used someone else. Glad I used a credit and didn't actually buy it.

08/08/21: Okay, I finished the book...there are a couple of other issues besides all the weird voice changes that continued throughout the book. At one point the author wrote about the first ever woman firefighter from NY, Molly Williams...she's talking about having a scarf wound around her head. The narrator pronounced it like a wound on the body! WTH?! And the narrator is an American actress (which makes the bizarre voice cuts all the weirder), so it's not a matter of how someone from another country might pronounce a word differently. Then in the epilogue, the narrator says, "On Friday, September 11th, 2022, Governor Newsom..." Really?! 2022?!?! I have no idea if it's written that way in the physical book, but that is a glaring mistake since it's currently 2021! The one reason it's nice to have the Audible version is you get to hear snippets of the interviews with the actual women at the end.

The narration issues aside, this is a really good book that highlights more changes are needed in the criminal justice and prison systems, including preparing inmates for release. Paying the inmates so little for doing such a dangerous job is insulting to say the least. And to train them and for many give them a career they want to continue once released then give them little to no opportunity to compete for those jobs is just ridiculous. As one person said, if we can give them all these tools that could be potential weapons and send them out to work, maybe they shouldn't have been in prison in the first place. It's interesting that when the first women's prison was establish, it had a female board and the focus was on training the women for careers once they were out. As soon as it was transferred under the control of the men's board, that disappeared. Of course with private for-profit prisons, rehabilitation and training will never happen. Things have to change in this country.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lucy Galajyan
  • 2022/01/16

A must read/listen!

Wether you live in California or not, this is a book filled with stories that you must hear! We live in a strange world and we need to do all we can to both recognize and fight for the rights for those who fights to save us!

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • christy
  • 2021/11/30

Sober and personal look at the California inmate fire experience

I really enjoyed this inside look at the California penal system and the use of what is a close relative to slave labor for a critical service to the state in the form of fire fighting. The current and former inmates profiled in the book are portrayed with respect, and often framed in their own words. History of labor and prison service was fascinating particularly as someone who thinks of California as being very progressive, there is an dark underbelly it comes to prison labor.

My only complaint was that the editing of the narration indicated sections of the book, in fact sometimes as small as a few words or a sentence, we’re recorded at different times under different conditions, and the quality of the audio and volume fluctuated in very distracting manners. I wish the audio had been more consistent.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Manifesta
  • 2021/09/14

A deeply human and widely historic story

Jaime Lowe probes deeply into the stories of the women inmate firefighters— what their lives were like, how they ended up in jail, what they learned fighting fires and what had happened to them since the death of one of their colleagues. You will come to respect and care for these women, as the author clearly does. But the book also cast a wide net to give the stories context: California's history of women firefighters, collusion with slavery and slaveholders, incarceration and the climate crisis. An excellent book all around.

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絞り込み:
  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cliff Moyce
  • 2021/08/04

Shocking, emotional and thought provoking

Admiration for the toughness and bravery of women inmates fighting major wild fires in California is tempered by the depressing reality of ‘justice’ and the prison business (for it is a business) in the US. Men and women in prison are effectively being punished for the rest of their lives (for crimes like burglary and drug possession) by the fact that employers don’t want to know anyone with a record. Even when those job applicants have spent the past few years saving lives and property (and seeing colleagues lose their lives). The authors belief that the system doesn’t have to be this c**p (and could be changed if the will is there) will forever be fighting prejudice and vested interests. We the readers can only join her in that hope. Even if you fully support the severity of sentencing for proven crimes in your state, you may struggle to support the idea of a life on the margins (especially for mothers) when it raises significantly the chances of reoffending and / or addiction / death.
The book is told through the life stories of real women fighting fires now or in the very recent past. None are composite characters - all are 100% real. This case study approach is further enhanced by some interview recordings with the women at the end of the book. I really enjoyed hearing their real voices and emotions. It is a great bonus from having the audiobook. Btw the reading of the book is superb.
NB other books referenced by the author (as her sources of information) are also excellent. Perhaps a little more academic than this book (with its life stories) but still eminently readable. They are recommended.