“Book Review: Malibu Burning”
Reviewed by Sam Cohen
An emotionally intimate, in-depth account of California’s most destructive wildfire
The most destructive wildfire in the history of Los Angeles set the city ablaze in November 2018. The Woolsey Fire left destruction and devastation in its path—from homes leveled to ash to the survivalist plights of the 250,000 people who were forced to evacuate—the loss was all but incomprehensible.
Author Robert Kerbeck found himself in the midst of this as he and his wife and son battled the blaze in an attempt to save their home. Kerbeck provides a first-hand account of how the Malibu fires claimed neighborhoods and what the resounding impact has looked like in the years that have followed.
Malibu Burning is a well-researched, organic retelling of what took place in California as the wildfire spread rapidly from one area to the next. Kerbeck draws not only from his own account and experience, but from the rich tapestry of narratives provided by fellow Californians.
The book includes accounts from celebrities like Julia Roberts and Bob Dylan, as well as the local Deputy Fire Chief and Malibu city council members who fought for their homes and their livelihoods. This memoir is engrossing from start to finish. Even if you feel as though you’ve read through the devastation on the news, there is so much more to learn through the telling of Malibu Burning.
The interweaving facts of the fire coupled with the discussion of how people ultimately survived this tragedy and learned how to remain courageous and kind in its wake, is the memoir’s main strength. Robert Kerbeck does a masterful job of providing thoroughly researched paragraphs of information without being overbearing in the process.
As readers, we gain deeper insight into what transpired while remaining connected to the human heartbeat at the center of the tragedy. Kerbeck effectively adds a human voice to something that may have otherwise dissolved into snippets of news stories and long-forgotten headlines. Malibu Burning is compelling, vivid, and told so organically that you don’t miss a single thing.
Easy to read and steeped in truth, this book will have readers flying through its content. Author Robert Kerbeck shows us what it means to be part of a community that doesn’t give up on one another, no matter what’s at stake.
Category: Nonfiction / Natural Disasters
Paperback: 262 pages
Thank you for reading “Book Review: Malibu Burning” by Sam Cohen! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.