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The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan
In The Big Burn, author Timothy Egan (The Worst Hard Time) tells how Teddy Roosevelt found solace and beauty in the West and decided to preserve large tracts of land for the American public. Working with Gifford Pinchot, Roosevelt carved out 16 million acres of woodlands that become the Forest Preserve, angering the rich and powerful who wanted the land for lumber or mining rights. When Taft became President, the dismantling of the Forest Service and the preserved lands had begun when the largest wildfire in American history broke out in 1910. Three million acres of forest went up in flames in Montana and Idaho, and the bravery of the Forest Service men and Buffalo Soldiers who fought the blaze convinced the American public that the lands were worth saving. The Big Burn has received positive reviews with the Denver Post saying, "In prose so sizzling it crackles, The Big Burn keeps alive the conservation dreams of Teddy Roosevelt by allowing this story to rise from the ashes, once again."