Knowledge Base Glossary    Contact Us
Browse by Category
Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: General Fiction .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story

One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story

Author: Kurt L. Kamm

ISBN: 9781435706262



Kurt L. Kamm’s debut novel One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story is adroitly written with enough narrative to keep your interest until the last page.


The narrative comprises the interplay of two themes that are woven together as it criss-crosses back and forth between the life of nineteen year old Greg Kowalski's desire to become a firefighter and his heart-rending life growing up in Saginaw Michigan where he had to endure the physical and verbal abuse handed out by his appalling father.


Kamm had done considerable research prior to crafting this very timely and informative novel and as he mentions in his acknowledgements, he met firefighters of all ranks, heavy equipment operators, helicopter pilots, paramedics, arson investigators, and retardant experts. All of this is quite in evidence as we follow Greg’s journey to pursuing his dreams.


The opening chapter introduces us to Greg in Malibu California where he informs us that he had joined the L.A, County Fire Department eighteen months ago and where he met Luis Zambrano. Like his other colleagues, Luis would risk his live to save others. Luis has a family and he is quite content to get along with $3500 a month salary even though the life of a firefighter is fraught with constant danger. Greg recounts to readers something that was passed unto him by one of his commanders, “When you think you have an area under control, don’t forget to tell the fire. A fire is never controlled until it’s controlled, contained, and cold-trailed.” And as we read the story, this is something Greg will eventually learn and experience.


No less compelling is the novel’s second theme as we learn that Greg grew up in Saginaw Michigan where his father was a firefighter. Greg was proud of his father, however, the only peace the family ever experienced was when his father was away. His father’s unpredictable and explosive anger was always just below the surface.  It was not uncommon for Greg to be beaten with a belt and moreover his father’s fury was also extended to Greg’s mother and sister. It is little wonder that all Greg dreamed of was escaping from his horrendous environment and connecting with others.


Fortunately, Greg is given an opportunity to change his life when one of his father’s co-firefighters, Mike Bentak pulls him aside at a Christmas party and asks him what he intends to do after high school and would he think about becoming a firefighter. Greg’s immediate response is that he was thinking about it and although he did ask his father a couple of times about being a firefighter, he was never encouraged to pursue this occupation.


It is here where Mike passes onto Greg an application for the wildlife training program at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the rest is history, as Kamm narrates in the ensuing chapters how Greg makes a new life for himself as a firefighter continually testing himself with all of its riveting and dangerous excitement.


One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story is not exactly high art and is not without its shortcomings, particularly the uneven manner Kamm moves back and forth between Greg’s life as a firefighter and the home he left. Nonetheless, readers will definitely appreciate how a gutsy young man remains steadfast in his quest to pursue his dreams and face up to all of the obstacles thrown in his path. In addition, after reading One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story readers will have a better understanding just how selfless and brave these firefighters are in putting themselves on the line on behalf of the communities they protect.


Kamm is an intelligent writer who writes with honesty and integrity evidencing someone who has done a great deal of research and who has a deep desire to share his knowledge with others.

The story has many strong moments with its detailed and vivid descriptions, whether of Greg’s family life or the forest fires he experiences, and should conquer readers in the hope that Kamm will write a sequel to this fascinating yarn.


As a passing note, I should like to mention that Kamm will be donating the initial sales of the book to the Wildland Firefighter Fund. Kamm lives in Malibu and is very thankful that his home had been spared from the devastating fires that engulfed the area in 2007.

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story

The above review was contributed by:The  Publisher & Editor of, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on   Click here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.

Click Here To Read Norm's Interview With Kurt L. Kamm

Click Image Below To Find Out More About This Book (Note: May Not Work With All Browsers)

" + __flash__argumentsToXML(arguments,0) + "")); }">

Related Articles

article Meet Kurt L. Kamm Author of One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story
 Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of is pleased to have as our guest, Kurt L. Kamm author of One Foot In The Black: A Wildland Firefighter’s Story.Good day Kurt and thanks for participating our interview.Norm:Has your environment and/or upbringing influenced your writing? As a follow up, please tell us something about yourself.Kurt:  When I was in college (Brown) I wanted to be a writer. I got diverted for 35 years on Wall Street and 5 more years as an elite...

(No rating)  2-16-2008    Views: 6104   
article Foot Ways
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON Author: Lynn Veach Sadler, Ph.DISBN: 9780615145631In Foot Ways, native North Carolinian, poet, author and former college president, Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler, showcases her mastery of the novella form.Dividing her novella into five short stories, Sadler paints different character portraits that are relayed to the reader via first-person narratives with a little sadness thrown in. All are carefully constructed and are loosely interconnected in some way or another to a certain...

(No rating)  6-23-2007    Views: 8967   
article Walk the Land (A Journey on Foot through Israel)
Click Here To Purchase This Book From Amazon Author: Judith Galblum PexPublisher: Cladach Publishing ISBN: 978-0-97-596195-7Author Judy Galblum Pex and her husband John (who is from Holland), decided to move to Israel thirty years ago. They currently run a hostel called The Shelter Hostel which is open 365 days a year. The couple have four children.

(No rating)  8-7-2007    Views: 7588   
article A Conversation With Lynn Veach Sadler Author of Foot Ways
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON Author: Lynn Veach Sadler, Ph.DISBN: 9780615145631Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of, is honored to have as our guest, Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler, author of Foot Ways.

(No rating)  7-7-2007    Views: 7707   
article Black’s Beach Shuffle
Author: Corey Lynn FaymanSBN: 978-0-595-40267-0Corey Lynn Fayman has covered all sorts of professions from a musician, part time private eye and educational technologist to a mult-media developer. He has outlived the rock and roll bands and has now found himself teaching interactive design and multimedia.It is from these roots that Corey has brought together his first mystery book Black’s Beach Shuffle. This name originally was “The Dead Geek” but after editing it and thinking about the...

(No rating)  6-6-2007    Views: 7959   
article The Black Messiah Murders
Click Here To Purchase From Amazon The Black Messiah Murders  Authors: Shelly Waxman and James Nathan PostPublishers: iUniverse, Inc.ISBN: 0595287670Genre: crime/thriller/noir

(No rating)  1-6-2005    Views: 22131   
article Black Monday A Stan Turner Mystery
Author: William MancheeISBN: 1932475087Publication Release: August 2005The following review of the Advanced Reading Copy was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures &CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's Reviews Author and attorney William Manchee has given readers another in his Stan Turner mystery series, wherein Stan and his faithful law partner, Paula Waters, team up to represent clients involved in a series of crimes, two of which are inter-related.All of the cases kick off on...

(No rating)  6-27-2005    Views: 8854   
article Sons of the Black Hand by Carolyn Kvajic
The Following review was contributed by: John WalshAlexandra Miletic leads a tempestuous life as a journalist in Florida, frustrated by her inability to break in to the big time and unsure whether her loving but slightly dull sports reporter boyfriend is really her future. She knows little of her heritage as the child of a mixed Croatian-Serbian marriage and the main legacy she has is a partiality for slivovitz, cigarettes and passionate arguments. However, covering what threatened to be a...

(No rating)  10-11-2004    Views: 4912   
article Black Rosebud - Have No Mercy II by Bobby and Kam Ruble
The following review was contributed by WARREN THURSTON Racial prejudice is a part of the human psyche that produces senseless acts. It is a festering sore in a society that may never heal. All kinds of intolerance can be justified by this cruelest of human acts. Since humans first appeared on planet earth, they have been wary of those who are different from them. It does not seem to matter that we all are the same at heart. That is, a person wanting to live in peace and harmony with...

(No rating)  1-1-1970    Views: 2739   
article The Jewish Lady. The Black Man & The Road Trip
Click Here To Purchase The Jewish Lady The Black Man And The Road Trip   Author: Carol Sue GershmanISBN: 978-61524288 0I am not quite sure what to make of Carol Sue Gershman and The Jew

(No rating)  9-29-2008    Views: 7419   

User Comments

No comments have been posted.

.: Powered by Lore 1.5.2