The Fires reviews

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Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2010: “Writing a Best and the Brightest for the urban crisis, Flood takes you on a harrowing ladder-level tour of city firefighting, while performing the more difficult feat of making intellectual and bureaucratic history just as fascinating and dramatic.” -Tom Nissley

In the NY Times, urban planning writer Greg Lindsay on (Not So) Smart Cities and The Fires.

NPR’s On the Media on The Fires and the downside of the data revolution, with an appearance from writer Michael Lewis and the WSJ’s Scott Patterson.

Joe Flood on NPR’s The Brian Lehrer Show talking about New York City pensions and his co-written article for aiCIO.

Gizmodo excerpt of The Fires.

Joe Flood talks to WNYC about technocracy and education reform in light of NYC School’s Chancellor Cathie Black’s resignation.

Joe Flood talking about The Fires on the NBC New York News with Chuck Scarborough.

The NY Daily News and The Unofficial Apple Blog on how Mayor Mike Bloomberg is reading The Fires on his iPad.

Brown History professor and Manhattan Projects author Sameul Zipp reviews The Fires in The Nation (subscribers only).

A great Bloomberg News review of The Fires, from an economic perspective.

Joe Flood on CSPAN’s Book TV reading and answering audience questions at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge, MA.

Newsweek calls The Fires the best urban crisis reportage since The Wire.

The Urban Times reviews The Fires.

Harvard Magazine on The Fires

Mayor Mike Bloomberg says he’s reading The Fires on his Ipad (at 2:10):

“Somebody told me about a book a couple days ago called The Fires—it talked about the 1970s and fires in the city and when the city was burning—and said the book was great. And I started to write myself a note saying that I should buy this book. And then I realized “wait a second!” and in 45 seconds called it up and for 12 bucks or something like that bought the book, and it was downloaded and I started reading it…I think I was reading the book in less than 60 seconds.”

Joe Flood’s first TV appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall, talking about The Fires.

The Fires rated Brilliant/Highbrow in New York Magazine’s back-page Approval Matrix.

Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic talks to Joe Flood:
The Fires This Time: Joe Flood on Managing New York City

Former Publisher’s Weekly Editor-in-Chief Sara Nelson reviews The Fires for AI5000, the web’s slickest looking money mag.

Joe Flood takes the Wall Street Journal around the once burned, now rebuilt South Bronx: Old Flames, New Stories in the Bronx

Joe Flood for The New York Post:
Why the Bronx Burned

Joe Flood on the Brian Lehrer Radio Show: The History of Fire Cuts

Review in the NY Daily News: In his enthralling and dispiriting book “The Fires”…Flood documents in painful detail how the bureaucrats and technocrats destroyed the traditional structures of city politics and wreaked havoc on the fire department, making “the fires” inevitable

Review in City Limits: “In this keenly researched and masterfully told story, Flood manages to not just challenge conventional wisdom in explaining why fires ripped through New York City in the 1970s, but to pull you into that world, place you on the front lines, and give you a sense that you, too, lived through The War Years.”

Economist Blog: Joe Flood and Nick McDonell Read at the Half King

Freakonomics Blog: A Shining City on a Spreadsheet

Wall Street Journal on The Fires’ relevance to cash-strapped contemporary NYC: In Book on ‘70s Fire Epidemic, Some parallels to Today’s New York

New York Times Metro Section Review: The Data-Driven Fires

“A Bronx-based journalist examines the epidemic of fires that swept New York City in the 1960s and ‘70s. Flood focuses on John O’Hagan, the fire commissioner who presided over the worst of “the Wars,” as the era is known in FDNY lore. Ambitious and self-educated, O’Hagan came up from the ranks to become the youngest chief in the department’s history. When reformer John Lindsay was elected mayor in 1966, O’Hagan, who strongly believed in the use of statistics and systems analysis to organize the department, became one of his leading allies. The new mayor sought the advice of the RAND Corporation, the legendary think tank that had made its reputation analyzing nuclear warfare for the Air Force. On the surface, it was a perfect alliance. RAND needed new clients, Lindsay needed a blueprint for rational government and O’Hagan needed support for his ideas for making firefighting a scientific discipline. But as Flood shows, the reformers’ characteristic weakness was a lack of the local knowledge that had been the bread and butter of the machine politicians they had ousted. The author writes that harried fire captains, given stopwatches to time how long it took their men to reach a fire scene, often lost or broke them, then submitted figures they thought made them look good. RAND whiz kids used simplified formulas to analyze the flawed data they received. O’Hagan, eager to help Lindsay cut the city’s bloated budget, used the RAND results to close down firehouses he already ‘knew’ were underperforming-which often turned out to be the ones where union leaders were based. Flood casts a wide net, looking into New York machine politics, the development of systems analysis, the dynamics of urban growthand an array of unexpected byways of NYC history. While his conclusions perhaps go to far in generalizing from the excesses of Lindsay and RAND to condemn liberal reformers as a group, Flood provides a riveting look inside one of the most challenging eras of recent NYC history. Important reading for anyone who cares about cities and how they are governed.“-Kirkus

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