Saving Troy

A Year with Firefighters and Paramedics in a Battered City

By William B. Patrick
Foreword by Richard Selzer

Subjects: New York/regional, Memoir, Autobiography, Biography And Memoir, Urban Studies, Urban Sociology
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438431543, 438 pages, November 2009

A powerful account of the hazards, challenges, and dangers faced by America's first-responders.


"This is on-the-scene reporting at its best. Bill Patrick has written a suspenseful account of the heroic, often tragic working lives of the firemen of the city of Troy, their comradeship, and their concern for the suffering of the victims. It is as fast-paced as a fire engine racing to put out the flames. Altogether superb. " — Richard Selzer, from the Foreword

William B. Patrick is the author of the widely praised verse memoir We Didn't Come Here for This: A Memoir in Poetry, the award-winning novel Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, and two volumes of poetry. His radio play, Resque, was commissioned and aired worldwide by the BBC, and his teleplay, Rachel's Dinner, was aired by ABC. To research Saving Troy, he spent eighteen months riding along with the professional firefighters and paramedics of the Troy Fire Department. He lives in Troy, New York.


"…an important, exciting, and extremely well-done narrative. " — Dennis Smith, author of Report from Engine Co. 82, A Song for Mary: An Irish American Memory, and Report from Ground Zero

"Saving Troy, heart-pounding and adrenalized as it is, is not about accidents and fires, stabbings and shootings and suicides: It is about people. In its untiring wonder at the wide array of humanity, seen through the eyes of the men of the 1st Platoon, Saving Troy is a book about how we live now, about what we value, about how we understand ourselves, and about how we treat one another. Along the way, Patrick, himself a son of Troy, composes a kind of hymn to his native city—an appreciative, clear-eyed appraisal of its history and fortunes—offering us a lens through which we can look at any number of similar American cities struggling with changing economic times. " — Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Without Paradise

"Patrick proves himself to be a formidable immersion journalist in this taut and compelling urban action story. Making this journey was Patrick's way of facing some personal demons and readers will be forced to confront their own notions about the nature of courage and heroes. Saving Troy is that rare find, a book that touches your heart and challenges your mind, filled with flesh-and-blood characters who will stick with you long after you've turned the last page. " — Paul Grondahl, author of Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma

"This story crackles, it positively tingles with immediacy. You are there with Troy's firefighters doing what they do three quarters of the time, racing to save the bleeding, the burned, the overdosed, the drowning, the poisoned, and the delivering mother. And, for the other quarter, they lay their lives on the line within flaming buildings, performing the most dangerous profession in America, the firefighter. " — Joseph Persico, author of Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 World War I and Its Violent Climax

"The stories are told from multiple perspectives—straight narrative, first-person accounts, and newspaper reports. Patrick's own presence is invisible, except in his deft handling of language…" — Albany Times Union