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The big burn : Teddy Roosevelt and the fire that saved America
Egan, Timothy
Adult Nonfiction E757 .E325 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Egan, National Book Award winner for The Worst Hard Time, spins a tremendous tale of Progressive-era America out of the 1910 blaze that burned across Montana, Idaho and Washington and put the fledgling U.S. Forest Service through a veritable trial by fire. Underfunded, understaffed, unsupported by Congress and President Taft and challenged by the robber barons that Taft's predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, had worked so hard to oppose, the Forest Service was caught unprepared for the immense challenge. Egan shuttles back and forth between the national stage of politics and the conflicting visions of the nation's future, and the personal stories of the men and women who fought and died in the fire: rangers, soldiers, immigrant miners imported from all over the country to help the firefighting effort, prostitutes, railroad engineers and dozens others whose stories are painstakingly recreated from scraps of letters, newspaper articles, firsthand testimony, and Forest Service records. Egan brings a touching humanity to this story of valor and cowardice in the face of a national catastrophe, paying respectful attention to Roosevelt's great dream of conservation and of an America "for the little man." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this unique chronicle of the 1910 forest fire that burned more than three million acres in two days, killed at least 80 people, and destroyed five towns, Egan, author of the National Book Award-winning The Worst Hard Time, tells a complex and intriguing story: the confrontation between wealthy industrialists who built railroads and stripped the land of its natural resources and those men, including President Theodore Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, who diligently worked to preserve the West's vast forest resources. The "big burn" complicated this showdown by swaying public opinion in favor of the idea that natural resources belonged to the public and that fires could be controlled by human efforts. Verdict Historians will enjoy Egan's well-written book, featuring sparkling and dynamic descriptions of the land and people, as a review of Roosevelt's conservation ideas, while general readers will find his suspenseful account of the fires mesmerizing. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09; for more on Roosevelt's conservation efforts, see Douglas Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior.-Ed.]-Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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