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B-Shifter: A Firefighter's Memoir [Paperback]

Nick Brunacini

Price: CDN$ 14.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

March 31 2008
Most firefighter memoirs are painfully idealized and should come equipped with a bag-pipe soundtrack. If thatʼs the kind of book youʼre looking for, my advice is to move on because B-Shifter will most likely disappoint you. The first 3 chapters of B-Shifter are about family. Brunacini devotes the first chapter of the book to chronicling his fatherʼs (Alan Brunacini) 48-year career with the Phoenix, AZ Fire Department. Alan is world renown as one of the fathers of the modern fire service and a pioneer for firefighter safety. Nick connects his fatherʼs zeal for improved firefighting safety procedures by vividly describing a diner fire where his father died for a few minutes. The next two chapters are devoted to Nick and his brother and sister growing up in a family where the only logical end was joining the fire service fraternity. Nick makes the observation that fire departments more closely resemble cults (or severely dysfunctional families) than a regular workforce. The reader is brought into the closed world of fire station life and the wide range of personalities that a fire station houses. Firefighters describe B-Shifterʼs portrayal of the workforce as "dead on". The remaining 10 chapters of B-Shifter give the reader a "ride along" on a collection of the most exciting, twisted, heart breaking and adrenaline filled calls over a 25-year period in the city of Phoenix. Whether itʼs pulling an attack line up a rapidly vaporizing staircase, a airplane crash into the center of a family's Memorial Day backyard picnic or standing by the side of a slime filled pool frantically trying to rescue a pair of young brothers, the reader is immersed in the firefighterʼs world. B-Shifter is as much about how firefighters perform, handle and decompress from responding to life and death situations. The Phoenix Fire Department was long held to be the cutting edge fire department by most of the worldʼs fire service. B-Shifter shows the world that the PFD is as human as any other department. Despite the graphic nature of the book most readers describe it as absolutely hilarious.

Frequently Bought Together

B-Shifter: A Firefighter's Memoir + The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse + Report from Engine Co. 82
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.19

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Across the Street Prod. (March 31 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974753467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974753461
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 0.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my FD, the equivalent of "B-shifter" is "Downtown Clown" July 8 2009
By this-shere guy - Published on Amazon.com
As I am reviewing this, there are 11 other reviews of B-SHIFTER to read. I saw that all but one were 4 and 5 star reviews. The remaining one was a 1 star review admonishing people to "save their money". I wanted to read this one first as I thought this gentleman must work for the Farmington Hills Fire Department if he is so humorless. His name doesn't sound familiar so I don't think he does, but surely there must be others in the whole of the fire service like them. I just didn't think they would dignify this book with comment, being the consummate pros that they are.

In order to enjoy this book, you had better have a fireman's requisite appreciation for the absurd. If the bizarre and inexplicable don't make you bust out in belly laughs, stay home with another book. Maybe one of those dryer-than-dry histories of the FDNY, or the one about the BC that single-handedly lead every survivor out of the South Tower before it collapsed. If you've got self-aggrandizing on your mind, and you never made a mistake or would tell anyone about it if you had, you're barking up the wrong tree.

I'm a career FF and I've read tons of FF memoirs...good, bad, and right in the middle. This one isn't poignant like ENGINE 82 or outsider-ish like WORKING FIRE or FIGHTING FIRE, but it is hands down the FUNNIEST book ever written by a fireman. The stories, which on some level I HOPE are slightly embellished, are crazy enough to be true. I laughed out loud dozens of times. If this book has a fault, it's that it is too short. I wanted it to keep going.

Reading this book and thinking about Nick Brunacini I am reminded of a quote of Raymond Chandler's in talking about the hero of his private detective novels, Philip Marlowe. Chandler said, "If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK book Feb. 22 2010
By David L. Simmons Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was OK. Was not as impressed as I thought I would be. I guess I had my hopes set to high for what I was wanting. It is somewhat interesting at times but not all the time. It is a book I struggled to get through.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Touching Feb. 6 2010
By Mommy2 LJS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My husband is a volunteer firefighter, so I got him this book for Christmas. He is not a big reader, but LOVED this book!! I heard him laughing from across the house (and I bet there were a few moments when he was drawn to tears, don't tell him I said that). He informed me I HAD to read it, and I loved it too. The author pulls you into his world and makes you wish you could live there too. Inspirational and just a GREAT read. We HIGHLY recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely hilarious March 28 2009
By phyrngn - Published on Amazon.com
Nick Brunacini continues his "Staring Into the Sun" saga by writing B-Shifter. His stories are convoluted, yet understandable...his prose is gripping. Brunacini is unafraid to describe both internal and external fire service dogma on his terms; and I think you'd be surprised what you will find. He also describes, in his words, the story of his father (Alan Brunacini) and the success he had with changing the Phoenix Fire Department over a period of almost five decades. The book is short, and like most of Nick's writing, I could not put it down and wanted more. A "Must-Have" for any firefighter's library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars B-Shifter is A-Plus Feb. 6 2009
By Phillip Ferris - Published on Amazon.com
I highly recommend B-Shifter. This funny, sometimes thought provoking memoir was a joy to read. The author spins anecdotes from his career as a firefighter with the Phoenix Fire Department. Any firefighter, career or volunteer will appreciate the humor and camaraderie that are described within the pages of this short work. You will at times think that Brunacini is referring to firefighters from your own company or eccentric personalities from your own neighborhood.

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