The Mass of Men

How are firefighters made? What does it take to enter a burning building and risk your life to save another?
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Very well written fictional story line, although I might be a little bias due to having to lived some of it during the class #64. Thought it was nice to reminisce on a few of the stories she based this book on and her depiction of the social aspect of our class. Job well done.

-- Lorne Spence
Book Description:

How are firefighters made? What does it take to enter a burning building and risk your life to save another? The cadets of Class #64 are about to find out.

Under the stern supervision of their instructors, the students struggle against the relentless pace of their training. As each makes the transition from novice to professional, the relationships they develop take on dimensions of their own.

Sam is headstrong and driven, but as the only female in the group, she has the added burden of fitting in. Her situation is further complicated by the deep platonic bond she shares with a fellow cadet and an evolving connection with their commanding officer.

Ty grew up under the heavy hand of an abusive father. But he comes into his own at the academy, in large part because of the friendship he shares with Sam and the mentoring he receives from a most unlikely source.

And Matt Daniels serves as a rigid disciplinarian over the cadets and staff, yet everything changes when he allows himself the emotional freedom to bond with his students.

Sam, Ty, and Daniels must now navigate an emotional triangle, all the while being bound by the rank structure that defines them.

The Mass of Men takes the reader inside the grueling training of firefighters, revealing the drama, humor, and intensity of an academy. The punishing physical demands are only part of the challenge as the cadets overcome fears and wrestle with conflict, knowing they will one day be responsible for the lives of others.


Rachel K. Wentz (Author)
Following a thirteen-year career as a firefighter/paramedic, Dr. Wentz retired from the Orlando Fire Department to pursue advanced degrees in anthropology. She graduated from Florida State University with an MS and PhD in Anthropology, specializing in the analysis of human remains with foci on ancient disease and population health. Dr. Wentz has done skeletal work in Florida, St. Croix, England, and Ukraine, and obtained experience in forensics at the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She has taught courses in physical anthropology, human osteology, medical anthropology, and forensic anthropology at Florida State University and her work has been featured on the History Channel, the Weather Channel, and in Archaeology Magazine. She is the author of seven books. Her first novel, The Mass of Men, won the 2014 Florida Authors and Publishers Silver Medal President’s Award in Genre Fiction. Her memoir, Let Burn: The Making and Breaking of a Firefighter/Paramedic, also won a FAPA Silver Medal in 2014. Her latest book, The Body Blog: Explorations in Science and Culture won the 2016 FAPA Silver Medal President’s Award in Adult Non-Fiction. Please visit Dr. Wentz’ website at
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