Working with Giants

John Norman
(9 reviews)
1.80 LBS
6.00 (in)
9.00 (in)
0.75 (in)
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Working with Giants

By John Norman, Chief of Special Operations (Ret.), FDNY


John Norman, author of the best-selling Fire Officer’s Handbook of Tactics and Fire Department Special Operations, brings his own remarkable story to life in this new highly anticipated memoir. Chief Norman is donating a portion of the royalties from this book to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. To make a donation, visit Tunnel to Towers.

But this is a story about all firefighters—the men and women who are absolutely the salt of the earth, whose sole mission is to protect the lives and property of their neighbors.

This book celebrates the lives of firefighters—a truly special group of people—and reintroduces them to the American public.

What is a hero?

A hero is a role model. To be a hero means protecting others at great personal risk because it’s the right thing to do. “Since September 11, 2001,” Norman writes, “people have been speaking about firefighters as ‘America’s Heroes.’ I truly believe they are heroes in the classical sense of the word.”

Renowned for combining compelling storytelling with industry-standard tactical training, Norman offers an unparalleled look into the modern history of America’s fire service from a front-row seat. This is a celebration of the best in public service, its sacrifices and triumphs, and the people who were there, who will insist with uncommon humility, “I was just doing my job.”

"I purchased this book at FDIC...Couldn't put it down! Excellent work! I don't know how Chief Norman remembered all of those facts! I remember incidents from my time in Jersey City but nowhere near the detail that Chief Norman does! I was also surprised at his description of the Jersey City Collapse. It was after that incident I purchased several Grip-Hoists for our rescue company. I think the saddest chapter was the Trade Center, and I was surprised at the Epilogue."—William C. Peters, Battalion Chief and Apparatus Supervisor (Ret.), Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department
"Chief John Norman's book is a collection of riveting stories about a life spent leading, serving, saving civilians, and losing comrades in the FDNY and beyond. From his early influences as a volunteer firefighter with his father in 1970 to leading the search and rescue operations at the World Trade Center in 2001, he takes the reader on the intense, colorful, honest, and personal journey of a legendary icon of the American Fire Service. The graphic and heartfelt detail in which Chief Norman recalls each event is staggering. Whether in his years on the FDNY Rescue Companies responding to countless fires and rescues, or the challenges and personal loss during 9/11, you will be there with him as he describes every painstaking detail. He is a humble hero describing the giants with whom he had the privilege of serving."
—Battalion Chief (ret) Anthony Kastros

"This book keeps the reader engaged from cover to cover. The writing style and credibility of John Norman stands alone in the American fire service. Norman goes into a unique eyewitness account of 9/11 that opens up a whole new perspective on that disaster. Although this book is not promoted as an educational book, Norman wisely incorporates succinct reasons in his scenarios that describe why FDNY does what they do. Details from his personal involvement and perspective shed light on the dangers and potential rewards of fire operations. The fire scenarios described are not cumbersome, but they are addictive and not repetitive. The most interesting and engaging book I have ever read about the fire service...a real page-turner, priceless. John Norman is likely the only person in the American fire service with humble beginnings who ultimately led a career that is unmatched by few—if any."

—John Mittendorf, Battalion Chief (Ret.), Los Angeles City (CA) Fire Dept

Table of Contents:

  • September 11th

  • Vacants

  • Being “Broken In”

  • The Death of a Building (and a Neighborhood)

  • Father’s Day on the Pier

  • Harlem, USA

  • The Major Deegan Expressway

  • Railroad Pizza

  • I’ll Make You a Detective!

  • The Southside

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  • Flight 5050

  • Some Really Important Steps

  • The Winter Offensive

  • My Turn to Be Schooled

  • The What If’s?

  • Kingston Is Not Just in the Caribbean

  • The Troy Avenue Boys

  • The Soundest Sleeper You Ever Met!

  • The Thirsty Corrections Officer

  • Sometimes, I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good

  • Only the Lucky Ones Get to Retire!

  • An Unusual Smile

  • “Precious”

  • Planes… Something That Big Isn’t Supposed to Move, Let Alone Fly!

  • When You’ve Got a Great Act, Take It to Broadway!

  • 30 Rock

  • Call the Veterinarians

  • Popes, Presidents, and Other Assorted Dignitaries

  • V.I.B.s—Very Important Buildings

  • Harlem II

  • The World Trade Center

  • The Rebirth

Number of Pages:
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  • 4

    Posted by PATRICK GOUPIL on Dec 7th 2023

    Great book by a great firefighter. Inspiring stories from the 1980s from a seasoned firefighter

  • 5
    Working With Giants

    Posted by Dave Clark on Aug 10th 2023

    Every firefighter in the country should read this book! It is a GREAT read, is inspiring, and sets the bar for all of us. Shows the importance of dedication, training, preparation, and courage. For citizens, the book explains what firefighters really do, and shows why it is important that they be supported. The book tells true stories that read like a suspense novel.

  • 5
    Working With Giants

    Posted by Dave Clark on Jul 26th 2023

    Every firefighter in the country should read this book! It is a GREAT read, is inspiring, and sets the bar for all of us. Shows the importance of dedication, training, preparation, and courage. For citizens, the book explains what firefighters really do, and shows why it is important that they be supported. The book tells real stories that read like a suspense novel.

  • 5
    Working with Giants - John Norman

    Posted by Ryan DiGiulio on Mar 8th 2023

    Thank you John Norman for sharing a piece of your career with the world. We greatly appreciate your wealth of knowledge that will continually be passed on for generations.

  • 5
    Working with giants review

    Posted by Paul Simmons on Feb 11th 2023

    Very insightful, covering a slew of fireground activities. Great read if you love firefighting.

  • 5
    Working with Giants

    Posted by Patrick Grace on Jun 23rd 2022

    I just finished reading John NormanÊWorking With Giants.Ê I have read all of Chief Norman's instructional textbooks, attended many of his lectures and been a follower of his fire department career for many years.Ê In fact, our fire department training officer made Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics an assigned reading.Ê ÊI was very excited when I learned of his latest work.and I wasn't disappointed.Ê The author made the descriptions of his personal experiences crystal clear and easy to picture the complexity of the problems that he and his fellow firefighters faced.Ê I've long been a "buff" of the FDNY so I found the book very gratifying because of his vivid characterizations ofÊ the heroic people with whom he worked.Ê He bared his soul with his account of his own medical emergency and took the time to identify each emergency and medical responder who came to his rescue.Ê His recognition of those, mostly volunteer, emergency personnel by name is a credit to his character.Ê I've been a firefighter for 46 years and I can count on one hand the number of patients or people we've served who took the time to learn our names and thank us, much less, write about us in a publication. I have an extensive firefighting library and this book is on the top shelf.Ê I give John Norman Working With Giants five stars and highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in public safety.

  • 5
    Working with Giants

    Posted by Thomas McCarthy on Apr 6th 2022

    Very good book, well written.

  • 5
    Fire stories

    Posted by Christopher NMN Boyle on Feb 4th 2022

    Excellent book. If you've ever served in the FDNY or the fire service, you will immediately be immersed in every story.

  • 5
    working with giants

    Posted by John E Teliho on Jan 14th 2022

    great read