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Rescue Me meets Blue Bloods in this riveting social history of the New York City Fire Department told from the perspective of the Feehan family, who served in the FDNY for four generations and counting.

Seen through the eyes of four generations of a firefighter family, Five Floors Up the story of the modern New York City Fire Department. From the days just after the horse-drawn firetruck, to the devastation of the 1970s when the Bronx was Burning, to the unspeakable tragedy of 9/11, to the culture-busting department of today, a Feehan has worn the shoulder patch of the FDNY. The tale shines the spotlight on the career of William M. Feehan. “Chief” Feehan is the only person to have held every rank in the FDNY including New York City’s 28th Fire Commissioner. He died in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. But Five Floors Up is at root an intimate look at a firefighter clan, the selflessness and bravery of not only those who face the flames, but the family members who stand by their sides. Alternately humorous and harrowing, rich with anecdotes and meticulously researched and reported, Five Floors Up takes us inside a world few truly understand, documenting an era that is quickly passing us by.

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About Brian McDonald

Once upon a time, there was a famous restaurant called Elaine’s. For forty years or so, Elaine’s was the beating heart--and crusted liver--of Manhattan’s literary scene. As a bartender there for over a decade, I had a front row seat to watch some of the greatest novelists and non-fiction writers of the 20th Century in their most contemplative moments. I once saw Hunter S. Thompson set himself on fire drinking flaming shots of 151-proof Bacardi rum. We had to smother him with a tablecloth. Perhaps it was that night, or one like it, when I began to believe that maybe I too could become a writer.

Since that impertinent beginning, I've been able to assemble a modest body of work that includes the memoirs Last Call at Elaine's: a Journey From One Side of the Bar to the Other (St. Martin's Press 2008); and My Father's Gun: One Family, Three Badges, One Hundred Years in the NYPD (Dutton 1999). “My Father’s Gun” was made into an award-winning feature-length documentary aired on the History Channel (click arrow above for preview).

More recently, I’ve ghostwritten or acted as a book doctor on a half dozen successfully published memoirs and collaborated with Malachy McCourt on Death Need Not Be Fatal (Hachette, May 2017), a humorous and poignant memoir of facing the Great Hereafter. My new book, Five Floors Up: The Heroic Family Story of Four Generations in the FDNY published by Grand Central is out September 6, 2022.

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