Maltese Cross Author:Vinnie Toland, Jr. On a good day, when traffic is just right, Manchester, New Hampshire is only a fourty-five minutes drive north of Boston. With a population of almost 120,000 people, and an even larger workday population, Manchester is the largest city north of Boston. It is the commercial and industrial hub of northern New England. — Manchester is an old city, t... more »he old New England mill city, boasting the world's largest textile manufactureing complex. The mills needed workers and the workers needed houseing, so Manchester was and is filled with densely packed neighborhoods of attached row houses. And like any old East Coast city, Manchester, New Hapshire suffered the blight and decay that characterized America's cities until the urban renaissance of the late 1980s: abandoned and decaying mills and factories; hundreds of crumbling row houses and triple deckers; arson for profit and arson for the hell of it; shifting population demographics, a disinteresed citizenry; municipal shortsightedness and greed, and plain old factioned polictial supidity.
Manchester also, of course, had a busy fire department during these years. And Vinnie Toland was- and is- a Manchester firefighter. He never really had a choice of profession; the fire service was in his blood. His grandfather and father had been fire chiefs; two of his uncles were firefighters; his brother went on the job a few years before Vinnie did. The service is his blood.
Vinnie rose through the ranks of the Manchester Fire Department, from firefighter, to lieutenant, to captain, and now serves as a district chief. Like any good firefighter, Vinnie has seen his fellow firefighters preform incredible acts of bravery and courage...and incredible acts of humor and good natured pranks. Like any experienced urban firefighter, Vinnie has been astonished at the incredible fortitude and generosity of many well-intentioned citizend; and he has been amazed at the seemingly bottomless, breathtakeing stupidity of many other members of the public the members of the fire department have sworn to protect.
Vinnie Toland has some great stories to tell and he tells them extraordinarily well in Maltese Cross. If you are a fan of Leo Stapleoton's Jakes, Hary Ahearn's Ghetto Firefighter, or Don Whitney's The Blackened Shield, then Vinnie Toland's Maltese Cross is a book that you will enjoy again and again.« less