Tina Jordan
October 28, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Big Burn

Current Status
In Season
Timothy Egan
Houghton Mifflin
History, Nonfiction

We gave it an A

Few writers have the Pulitzer Prize-winning Timothy Egan’s gift for transforming history lessons into the stuff of riveting page-turners. But just as he brought the dust bowl to life in The Worst Hard Time, Egan evokes the country’s biggest-ever forest fire, a behemoth that engulfed parts of three Western states in August 1910 in The Big Burn. Fueled by a furnace-blast summer, drought conditions, and a merciless windstorm, the fire required some 10,000 volunteers to put it out. But in the process, President Teddy Roosevelt not only won the country’s support for the nascent U.S. Forest Service, he established, once and for all, the idea that the federal government should manage public lands. Don’t miss this one. A

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