ADRIAN Hyland can take you to the brink of the cauldron and give you a terrifying glimpse into the molten abyss.
Kinglake-350, by Adrian Hyland. Text Publishing Company rrp $32.95
Kinglake-350 - the call sign for policeman Roger Wood - is an unparalleled achievement.
It is also a diary of disaster and heroism on Black Saturday, which should be mandatory reading for every Australian.
While Wood is the central character around which this book is woven, he is just one thread in a fabric which would, in the end, be torn apart.
These heroes seek no recognition, most still don't know how they achieved what they did.
Their thanks, at best, is seeing alive some of those they helped.
One firefighter summed it up for Hyland. "Geez, I lost my own house, just about lost me life. I know we saved a few people. Why the f--- do I feel so guilty?"
The heroism of Black Saturday in 2009 is tarnished by the post-traumatic stress, by the marriage and family breakdowns, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, social isolation and families even now looking to find permanent homes.
Worse still, it is absolutely stained by the blame-game aftermath. Of politicians with their hollow promises, media on a headline witch-hunt and by ignorant bureaucrats more interested in paperwork than people.
It is all sensitively and, where necessary, brutally catalogued by Hyland, and his own conclusions are just as damning of how quickly we all forget.