As far back as the nineteenth century (and possibly even earlier), firefighters took to the sea to fight fires along the country’s coastline. “Waterfront blazes seldom were small,” writes Wayne Mutza in the introduction to American Fire Boats: The History of Waterborne Firefighting and Rescue in America ($50, schiffer books.com) due, in part, to the multitudinous industrial buildings along the ports. Mutza traces the evolution of these craft, from battleship-size wood-and-iron fireboats—so powerful their water cannons could reduce concrete structures to rubble—to today’s nimble, high-tech aluminum vessels. But it’s not just about the boats. Mutza also pays heartfelt tribute to firefighters who served with purpose and pride, and continue to answer the call of danger.