The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America
Paperback – September 7, 2010
Offers a dramatic account of the largest-ever forest fire in America, which cemented Teddy Roosevelt's legacy because the heroism shown by the forest rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, which Roosevelt wanted to conserve, in a book by a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.
A New York Times Bestseller. A Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Entertainment Weekly, and Amazon Best Book of the Year.
A dramatic account of the worst forest fire in American history by the author of the National Book Award–winning The Worst Hard Time.
On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forest of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men—college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps—to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.
Timothy Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched ranges against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force. Equally dramatic is the larger story he tells of outsize president Teddy Roosevelt ad his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen.
“An important cautionary tale for these days that also reads like a classic adventure story.”—Washington Times