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When The Bronx Burned

When The Bronx Burned

4.1 11
by John J. Finucane

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In the South Bronx during the 1960s and 70s, unscrupulous landlords and their torch-men set in motion a murderous wave of arson-for-profit,
driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and injuring,
maiming, and killing thousands more-including firefighters. Yet New
York's mayor consistently refuses to give the fire department the manpower it


In the South Bronx during the 1960s and 70s, unscrupulous landlords and their torch-men set in motion a murderous wave of arson-for-profit,
driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and injuring,
maiming, and killing thousands more-including firefighters. Yet New
York's mayor consistently refuses to give the fire department the manpower it needs to investigate the arson, and thousands of suspicious fires go uninvestigated.

Jackie Mulligan and his brother firefighters stand up to the heartless evil of the slumlords by demanding that the mayor take action. But when the mayor refuses, Mulligan and his men take a stand against the arsonists,
putting their jobs-and their lives-on the line.

For Mulligan, the fight has become personal. And there will be only one winner.

".John Finucane has written a riveting and fast moving novel.Not only does he nail the drama in a way only an experienced firefighter can, he literally puts the reader inside the fire scene.Reading John Finucane's comprehensive description brought back memories of my admiration for firefighters everywhere."
-Charles J. Hynes

Kings County District Attorney

Former Fire Commissioner of NYC

Author of first novel, Triple Homicide

"For twenty years John Finucane breathed the acrid smoke, hauled the heavy hoses, and climbed the telescoping ladders for New York City's heroic fire department. He now writes about it from the gut-with verve,
power, and poignancy. This is a fireman's fireman, pulling no punches and telling the story of a firefighter in New York's grittiest neighborhoods during the turbulent 1960s and 70s."
-Roger D. McGrath, Ph.D.

Author, Gunfighters, Highwaymen & Vigilantes

Featured Commentator on the History Channel

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)

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When The Bronx Burned 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A splended book, as a Firefighter of today,I could only imagine what the author and other members of his company encountered on a daily basis.His book brought you right into the action, almost riding along with his engine co. back in the day. great read. joey engine co. 4
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a 25 year veteran Firefighter from Massachusetts, I found John Finucane's novel to be one of the more realistic and accurate accounts of firefighting in an Urban environment that I've ever read. Based upon actual events and conditions, this book literally transports the reader back to a gritty South Bronx neighborhood where buildings are burning, people are suffering, and firefighters are caught in the crossfire as they struggle to mitigate the destruction as they risk their lives. Profoundly descriptive and full of interesting, yet tragic characters, this book is a fascinating and informative tale that highlights a devastating period in New York history which affected thousands of lives, before culminating in the restoration and rebirth of an area within the South Bronx which now thrives. I would highly recommend this book to anybody, both within the Fire Service and beyond, who has any interest in humanity, urban history, or simply wishes to read a gripping novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Finucane has unwittingly hit upon a theme that has been bubbling just beneath the surface of the public conscience: Where have all the real men gone? The question, never uttered allowed lest the 'utterer' be savagely attacked by the PC police may have found its answer here. The author brings to life real men in a violent world, at war with two of mankind's oldest enemies, fire and greed. These aren't Metro-sexuals were talking about, going off to work in their Guccis and Manbags, no, these are lunch-pail knights ready to lay down their lives for each other or the strangers they are sworn to protect. Finucane brings us to the fire floor and beyond and if you listen closely with your eyes you can hear the crackle of the fire as it explodes out of the walls and onto the page. His writing style is crisp, taught and fast paced like the men he writes about. He also reveals how a cabal of politically savvy and well-connected landlords turn most of the Bronx into a vast wasteland. Drawing on the headlines of the day and his own personal experiences Finucane shows in startling clarity how the once Beautiful Bronx was raped by the burghers of Manhattan, the carcass left to rot on a pyre of burnt out homes and unfulfilled dreams. 'When The Bronx Burned,' was a harbinger of financial ruin for the greatest city in the world. It was only a matter of time and greed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finucane's book is just a copy of what Dennis Smith was writing about over 30 years ago. Smith's book was more interesting and real.I was disapointed in Finucane's book.If you want a good book on this era of Bronx history then get Dennis Smith's book.Finucane's book is a waste of time.Finucane used to be a big wheel in the Irish-American community.However he seems to jump from issue to issue to get himself glory.Smith seemed sincere in his portrayal of 1970's South Bronx life.Don't waste your valuable time and money on Finucane's book.Hopefully Finucane will move on to another cause as being an author doesn't seem to fit him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Finucane has tied together many threads in weaving a thoroughly dramatic tale. His true-to-life story puts the reader directly inside the cauldron of big city firefighting, particularly during the FDNY 'war years.' Few have been able to capture the adrenaline-fueled world of an actual fire operation the way he has. This is a book not just for firefighters everywhere, but for anyone who ever wondered what really happens when they see a fire apparatus racing towards danger. An excellent read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good novel that has a lot to offer any reader. It has exciting fire fighting scenes and shows the comeraderie of a group of brave fire fighters. It's also an honest treatment of a bad piece of New York City's history that has never been sufficiently brought to the public's attention. The book takes a look at evolving ethnic relations in the inner city and has an unusual and compelling love story that is sensitively rendered. All of the above elements are strung together in a story that unfolds naturally in episodes and scenes that capture the atmosphere of a busy New York City Fire Department fire house in the South Bronx during the 1960's and 1970's. The heroism of the fire fighters and the basic decency of the people they serve jumps out at the reader. You also get to meet the bad guys, arsonists, greedy landlords and corrupt politicians who profit from the fires. This is a great read especially for anyone who is intrested in New York in the 60's and 70's. While a novel is not literally true, a well written novel often communicates the truth and reality of its subject matter very powerfully sometimes better than a non-fiction work. I believe the author has accomplished this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a retired FDNY firefighter who worked in the Bronx during the period just after the one described in John's book, I think he did a great job. My generation of firefighters were lucky enough to have the ones from John's generation as our teachers, and he described them all perfectly. The story has a fast pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Although his story was written as a novel, you will come away with a clear vision of what happened in those dark days. John spares no one when he describes how evil landlords, arsonists and of course our own politicians systematically destroyed the South Bronx. Not to mention the countless lives that were lost and the thousands that were left homeless. This is a book for everyone, you don't have to be a firefighter to enjoy it. You will come away with a new respect for the men who worked in those firehouses during the 60's and 70's. This story would make a great movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big reader, but this book was recommended to me, so I bought it and I enjoyed it very much. I hated for it to end. The book gives a realistic look at what life was like for South Bronx firemen during the 1970s. There was a lot of comradery among the men and a can-do attitude.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt like I was at the fire scene while reading John Finucane's riveting historical novel about a horrendous time in NYC in the 1960s and 1970s when slumlords hired torch men to level apartment buildings in the South Bronx and other depressed neighborhoods in NYC. Reading When The Bronx Burned, makes you feel like you are one of the bravest as you see through the eyes of the author's characters the enormous dedication and commitment these men have for their job and their community. I loved this book and hope it will be made into a movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book represents a true picture of 'the war years in the bronx' as a former lieutenant and captain of ladder 31 during that period, john (and i worked with john)has brought back memories of what is was like during that time. This is a book for all firefighters though fictional,is the truth of arson and insurrection during those years. The book is outstanding. Bob farrell c.E.O. Fire hooks unlimited
Guest More than 1 year ago
My father worked in Engine 82 in the late sixties and the early seventies when the Bronx was burning. The author's company Engine 85 was quartered for a time in the same firehouse as Engine 82 and Ladder 31 until they moved into what was known as 'Tin House'on Boston and East 169th street. I bought this book with the expectations that it would capture the true story of that era, it didn't. The author should have wrote this book as a true to life account based on his experiences rather than portraying it as a fictional novel. The story line really didn't tell the tale of the men who worked everyday fighting those arson fires that raged in the area. The romance story and that of the arson gang, to me, really didn't capture my attention. I found myself skipping pages just to get past them waiting for the action. As per the author's claim that the characters are fictional may also not be true. The 'Woodenhead' character in Ladder 31 he refers to is really fireman Charlie McCarthy of Ladder 31. The Lieutenant in Engine 85 is really Rudy Bilcek, who died of cancer several years ago. The character who fell from the responding rig was really fireman Mike Carr of Engine 85 who died on September 19, 1969 while responding to a false alarm turned in by a nine year old boy. This book, in my opinion, fails to tell the true story of the years when the Bronx was burning. I would strongly recommend Dennis Smith's book 'Report From Engine Co. 82' as a true account of those years when the Bronx was burning.