The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America

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National Book Award–winner Timothy Egan turns his historian's eye to the largest-ever forest fire in America and offers an epic, cautionary tale for our time.

On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men to fight the fires, but no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan recreates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, and the larger story of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, that follows is equally resonant. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. Even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by his rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service in ways we can still witness today.

This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.

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More by Timothy Egan

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"An old-fashioned tale of tall talk, high ideals,and irresistible appeal . . . You will not read a historical thriller like this all year . . . [Egan] is a master storyteller." —Boston Globe

“Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative . . . and he has a journalist’s eye for the telltale detail . . . This is masterly work.” — New York Times Book Review
 
In this exciting and illuminating work, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan delivers a story, both rollicking and haunting, of one of the most famous Irish Americans of all time. A dashing young orator during the Great Hunger of the 1840s, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony for life. But two years later he was “back from the dead” and in New York, instantly the most famous Irishman in America. Meagher’s rebirth included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Afterward, he tried to build a new Ireland in the wild west of Montana—a quixotic adventure that ended in the  great mystery of his disappearance, which Egan resolves convincingly at last.
 
“This is marvelous stuff. Thomas F. Meagher strides onto Egan's beautifully wrought pages just as he lived—powerfully larger than life. A fascinating account of an extraordinary life.” — Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
 
“Thomas Meagher’s is an irresistible story, irresistibly retold by the virtuosic Timothy Egan . . . A gripping, novelistic page-turner.” — Wall Street Journal
 
4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Oct 19, 2009
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780547416861
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
History / United States / General
Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Nature / Natural Disasters
Nature / Plants / Trees
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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