From the man at the centre of the FDNY's heroic 9/11 rescue effort: a heart-wrenching memoir of a life spent in battle.
Thomas Von Essen looks back on his career and on his role in leading the FDNY through one of the most challenging periods in its history. Like Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, Von Essen was a beacon of hope and strength following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Even as he mourned the loss of colleagues and close friends - and struggled personally with doubts about his faith - Von Essen bravely helped to raise the morale of a shattered department and community.
In this moving memoir, Von Essen revisits the tragic event, his own role as head of New York's Bravest, and the trajectory of his career that led him to the helm of the FDNY. Strong of Heart will recount the harrowing behind-the-scenes drama as the events of that tragic September morning unfolded, as well as the challenges he and other city officials faced in the days that followed.
Von Essen's memoir mingles hope and sorrow, pride and despair, humour and irony, as this determined leader reflects on a life filled with service and self-sacrifice - the life of a firefighter.
Thomas Von Essen's career in firefighting began at the busy Ladder Company #42 in the South Bronx, where he worked for fifteen years following active duty in the United States Naval Submarine Service. He served as president of the Uniformed Firefighter's Association from 1993-1996. He was appointed New York City's 30th Fire Commissioner by Rudolph Giuliani on March 29, 1996. Since January 2002 he has been a vice president at Giuliani Partners.