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My Lost Brothers Audiobook

My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fire's Lone Survivor

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Publisher's Summary

A gripping first-person account by the sole survivor of Arizona's disastrous 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which took the lives of 19 "hotshots" - firefighters trained specifically to battle wildfires.

Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when, for the sake of his young daughter, he decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and, perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crew's skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh's firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough - "Donut", as he'd been dubbed by his team - served as lookout, they confronted a freak 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

My Lost Brothers is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough's story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs and finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive story of resilience in the face of tragedy, My Lost Brothers is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day.

©2016 Brendan McDonough (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"This is a new breed of war story, of the citizen soldiers who stand between life and death, the forest and the fire. Through burnt moonscapes, in air choked with ash, they face flames as tall as towers and say, 'You shall not pass.' Powerful and lasting, this is a story of men who gave their all." (Adam Makos, New York Times best-selling author of A Higher Call)

"My Lost Brothers is a harrowing story of heroism in the face of natural disaster. It perfectly illustrates the kind of teamwork and camaraderie that informed the legendary squad of hotshots working to save - in this case - their hometown from utter destruction by fire. As perhaps the least likely guy ever to become a hotshot, Brendan McDonough more than lives up to his role after having been taken underwing by Granite Mountain leader Eric Marsh. That he has been able to keep on even keel as the Yarnell Hill Fire's lone survivor, having lost his mentor and his best friends, speaks volumes about his character and is a lasting testimony to the strength of his lost brothers." (Ed Viesturs, best-selling author of The Mountain: My Time on Everest)

"For an East Coast guy like me this book was a real education in wildfires, and the last few chapters were a terrifying lesson in how they can do the unpredictable. I was left with nothing but admiration for the Granite Mountain hotshot crew who put their lives on the line to protect the town of Yarnell." (Michael Tougias, New York Times best-selling coauthor of The Finest Hours and So Close to Home)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.8 (79 )
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  •  
    nic 05-03-16
    nic 05-03-16
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    "A must read"

    This book is a must read. Amazing wonderful encouraging are just a couple of the words that come to mind after reading this book what an amazing talented young man we wish you all the best

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 09-03-17
    09-03-17
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    "Proper Pronunciation"

    Living in Prescott most of my life, this story really sank in and meant something to me. The only problem I had was when the reader did not pronounce the names to the towns or county's. That makes me cringe every time

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 07-29-17
    Emily 07-29-17 Member Since 2015
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    "My Lost Brothers"

    Truly an amazing and beautiful book. They whay McDonough explains everything in vivid details made one feel they were right there. At times I felt like I was taking a class about forest fires because of his in-depth knowledge of the tools, weather conditions, and history of the Hot Shots. Very good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Moshier 05-16-17
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    "Well done Brendan! God Bless You!"

    This was a mixture of emotions for me. One of my son's best friends was one of the 19 who perished in the fire. Knowing that, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this, but through the tears off and on, I grew to appreciate perhaps a glimpse the pain that Brendan may feel. I wish Brendan continued healing, as well as love and happiness in his life. God Bless You and may God continue to Bless the families, both personal and professional of the Granite Mountain Fire Fighters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    katheryn alley 05-15-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great book"

    No new info, but it's nice to hear how Brendan is doing and what he's faced!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim J 04-25-17
    Jim J 04-25-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great lessons to be learned!"

    The events of June 30, 2013 at Yarnell have effected the lives of so many people in the fire world. Brendan has amazing courage to share the story with us.

    I found myself thinking many times during the book, that he is so young, and he has carried the burden of old men.

    Thanks for sharing your life dude!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book and remembrance."

    Thank you, Brendan. This book has been an awesome remembrance of those fallen and those still grieving. Thank you for sharing your life story. This book brought me back to the days spent going through the academy with one of the fallen 19 and just knowing in his final moments he was with such incredible brothers gives me some form of peace. I would recommend this book for anyone struggling with hardships regardless if you are in the fire service or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Ritt Chicago, IL 01-26-17
    J. Ritt Chicago, IL 01-26-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A brutally honest examination of a terrible loss. "
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would and I have. It's a book I think everyone should read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of My Lost Brothers?

    ...all of it? No. Seriously. There's no way to pick one.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Several scenes. Mostly when Brendan discusses how working on the crew went from a job to a lifestyle, and his co-workers became his brothers. Also his decision to live after they were killed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Too many times to count in both cases. I literally busted up laughing in the middle of a gas station at some of his self-deprecating comments, which the narrator dead-panned perfectly. Then I made people in Starbucks think I was having an emotional breakdown,


    Any additional comments?

    I have only said this about *one* other book. (Namely, Mike Massimino's "Spaceman", which is, I think, one of the best autobiographies. A retired astronaut, Mass' book makes you want to be a better person just by listening to him read it.) I believe everyone should read this book for a whole variety of reasons.

    Hot Shot crews do a job that few of us could do and even fewer *would* do. It's hot, dirty, dangerous, extremely hard, and mostly thankless. Most people are unaware of them until it's their own town and their home that's in danger.

    These crews make, in average, $13 an hour, and many are hired as seasonal workers - meaning no benefits. Meaning if they get killed on the job, their spouse might well have to fight for death benefits.

    Brendan talks about the undeniable fact that the West is getting hotter and drier, and the fires, fed by the tinder of a hundred years of strict fire suppression, are growing bigger and harder to contain. This isn't a problem that's going to go away, nor is it limited to the western US.

    There's much more to it than that. His story of being lost, finding redemption and a home among family, only to lose them again and have to start over makes it worth reading as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 10-16-16
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    "I'm touched"

    I've always wanted to be a firefighter and I'm currently a fire explorer like Brendan I'm reading the exact book he did. This book touched me in a positive way showing me how the brother hood is. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenton 06-07-16
    Kenton 06-07-16
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    "Thank you Brendan"

    As a fire chaplain who has had the opportunity to work with wild land firefighters, and occasionally with their families, "My Lost Brothers" helped me better understand their culture and mindset... I appreciate that.
    This book should also give a sense of hope to those whose lives are aimless, yet yearn for something better.
    Thank you Brendan McDonough, God bless you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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