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Birth of the Bravest: A History of the New York Fire Department from 1609 to 1887
by A. E. Costello
Publisher: Macmillan 2003
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They are called "the Bravest." They are the New York City Fire Department, ordinary men who put themselves on the line every day to save lives, and this is a chronicle of their early history. "Birth of the Braves traces the history of New York firefighting from the earliest days of the city when it was part of the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam to the end of the nineteenth century when new innovations in firefighting technology began to make their appearance. Along the way are many tales of heroism and bravery, including accounts of the disastrous fire of 1811, the great conflagration of 1835, the awful fire of 1845, and many other signature events in New York City's history. "Birth of the Bravest also documents the history of firefighting itself, the birth and evolution of fire companies (both "volunteer and paid"), legislated fire regulations, the development of new equipment to aid the bravest in their mission, and the birth of fire insurance. Birth of the Bravest also tracks individual exploits of great heroism, on the job and off, as many members went off to serve in the Civil War. A seminal part of New York City history, the chronicle of the evolution of the Fire Department is an informative tribute to the men who are New York City's Bravest. Birth of the Bravest is a substantially abridged edition of "Our Firemen -A History of the New York Fire Departments Volunteer and Paid by A. E. Costello which was originally published in 1887.

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