Norman Maclean (1902-1990) grew up in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana as a woodsman, scholar, teacher, and storyteller. He worked in logging camps and for the US Forest Service as a young man. Dartmouth College gave him an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. a graduate of the University of Chicago He taught the Romantic poets and Shakespeare as the William Rainey Harper Professor of English at the University of Chicago.
Upon his retirement in 1973, he began writing the stories he enjoyed telling, which culminated in the book A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, which was widely acclaimed. The book was the University of Chicago Press's first original fiction publication. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters by a selection committee in 1977, but the full committee disregarded the nomination and did not award a Pulitzer in that category that year. He authored an account of the 1949 Mann Gulch forest fire in his final years.
Young Men and Fire was released posthumously and awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.