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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Me and my wife really loved it.

I am a wildland ff and my wife is not. the author did a good job describing the technical aspects without overly complicating it so my wife was able to follow.

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amazing

Amazing story that was beautifully written. Great way to remember the heros who gave their lives to protect others. RIP brothers.

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Amazing Book.

I used this book for a semester in high school for book reports. It was very interesting & saddening.

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Fantastic

What a great story. After seeing the movie that is based upon this book, I had to listen to the Audible version. I would have loved it that much more if the narration was from Brendan but overall I was very pleased with how it was portrayed. The story gives you a behind the scenes look at what it's like to work as a team to fight incredible fires with little reward. It also portrays how a person's life can change dramatically for the good given the opportunity and support of good, caring people.

Well done Brendan.

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Heroism, Professionals and Bravery

this book is an outstanding example of unbridled and unselfish acts of Bravery during the effort of trying to save lives and property amidst a raging forest fire.. this tragic and true story is an account of unparalleled unselfishness that is repeated thousands of time every year bye firefighters, police officers and other public servants( both paid and volunteer). although this true story had a tragic ending, it is my hope that by sharing this story, public officials will better fund and better prepare these Elite forces by making sure that they have the most up-to-date equipment and resources necessary to preserve their lives through the course of trying to save ours.

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  • Mark
  • SAINT CHARLES, MI, US
  • 04-14-18

A book for all firefighters.

This is a great read regardless of what you do in the fire service. I would also say the this is some of the best narration yet.

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The First Hand Account of the Survivor

Such an Incredible and touching story, and an amazing tribute to the 19 fallen Hotshots

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Great story.

Loved this audio book. I could not stop listening. Narrated beautifully. I liked that it gave great insight into the fraternity of fire fighting.