[An] epic, tragic, terrifying story ... It’s hard to imagine who could tell it better ... To research her book, she moved part time to Paradise; she enrolled in a professional firefighting academy to better understand wildfire. Above all, she talked to people ... Johnson skillfully intertwines stories of the town residents who confronted the apocalypse that November day. She vividly conveys the power of the fire itself ... Wildfires have inspired some of California’s and the West’s most harrowing and most necessary literature. You can add Lizzie Johnson’s Paradise to that list.
[Johnson] deliver[s] a viscerally harrowing, almost minute-by-minute narrative of the events leading to that conflagration, the dawning realization that a massively fatal wildfire was descending on the region ... She humanizes the book with detailed, sensitively told stories of many of the townspeople ... A cautionary tale in this age of climate change.
A terrifyingly intimate account of the Camp Fire ... Johnson's account is comprehensive and her descriptions of the inferno are vivid and immediate ... Johnson conducted more than 500 interviews and lived part-time in Paradise while reporting these events. Her extensive access to residents of the town is evident ... A skilled reporter's vivid account of one small community's encounter with a deadly wildfire.
A reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle gives a masterly account of the 2018 Camp Fire ... Johnson’s account of the crisis lacks the polish of disaster narratives by authors such as Sebastian Junger and Jon Krakauer. Although she has a jeweler’s eye for gemlike details, some aren’t for the faint of heart ... Though the storytelling isn’t flawless, the book is unmatched for the depth, breadth, and quality of its reporting on a major 21st-century wildfire, and it’s likely to become the definitive account of the catastrophe in Paradise. An urgent, harrowing report on one of the country’s worst wildfires.
A brutal account of the 2018 Camp Fire ... Johnson’s attention to grisly detail can be overwhelming...but she balances the horror with compassion ... This devastating history may be tough to read at times, but those who stay the course will find it crucial, comprehensive, and moving.