Working With Giants

SKU: 9781593704346


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

Additional information