My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fire’s Lone Survivor — Brendan McDonough

Gripping & Inspirational

I felt drawn to this book because I’ve been through wildland firefighter training, so I have a ton of respect for the guys who do it for a living. And I always appreciate people who are willing to tell their own stories. Especially tough, intensely personal stories. Telling the hard truth is one of the highest forms of courage we can share with each other as human beings, and Brendan McDonough holds nothing back.

The author is the lone survivor of the Yarnell Hill fire that claimed the lives of his entire Hotshot team. That fact is in the title of the book because it’s human nature to be interested in that aspect of his story—it’s unique, and it’s intensely dramatic. But no tragedy should ever define a human life. One of the things I love about this book is that it shows how much more there is to Brendan McDonough.

Although Brendan speaks openly about his team and about the tragedy that befell them, he writes just as openly about the challenges in his past. And he does it in a way that can inspire others to overcome their own obstacles. Never does he suggest there is something special about him. Quite the opposite. The overall message of the book is that burdens can be carried. Challenges can be met. Life can go on. Not just for Brendan McDonough, but for us all.

I would argue, though, that there is something special about him—the fact that he was willing to write it all down and publish it. All of it. The good and the bad. The humor and the pain. The brotherhood and the loss. The story of his life so far. He has a lot of years left ahead of him. Years that will define him as other things—as a father, for example. I hope he’ll decide to write about fatherhood, about his life as a writer and speaker, and about all the interesting characters he’s going to meet along the way. His is a unique voice, and I hope to hear more from it.

– Steven’s Pick

(Note: After this review was posted, the title of the book was changed to Granite Mountain, as seen below.)

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