Hill Climb Racing 2 Industrial Deals Beauty Best Books of the Month Shop new men's suiting nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited PCB for Musical Instruments Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Tote Bags Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Transparent Transparent Transparent  Introducing Echo Show Introducing All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Oasis, unlike any Kindle you've ever held GNO Shop Now ToyHW17_gno

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 437 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 600 reviews
VINE VOICEon September 10, 2017
FIVE STAR REVIEW - With smoke from wildfires inundating the summer in the American West (again - 2017), this work is both timely and a historical treasure. In the late summer of 2017, with some 2 million acres currently in flames - it is difficult to wrap your head around the magnitude of the 1910 Big Burn that converged to torch a total of 3.2 million acres in the American West.

Nobody can weave history and story like Timothy Egan. PERIOD!

If you want to understand the genesis of the conservation movement in the U.S., the destructive capacity of wildfire, the history of the largest wildfire in U.S. history (3.2 million acres torched in 1910), the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the conflict between business interests that those responsible for preserving public lands, the role of Gifford Pinchot and the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt - this book is for you.

This book is also distinctly about human behavior in the midst of impending disaster - both unsung heroes and the innumerable villains. The description of the dynamics of firestorm, what people did to save themselves and attempt to save their homes and villages, and the aftermath of this tragedy - this book is for you.

You cannot put this book down after you begin. Nobody but nobody can effectively treat a tragedy like this - in all its dimensions - except Timothy Egan.

There is so much in this book (set in 1910) that remains pertinent today: Funding for the U.S. Forest Service, wildfire prevention, conservation, environmentalism, management and suppression, politics, and the ongoing war of ideas.

Yet, it is Egan's ability to bring to life the people who experienced this unimaginable, life altering and life ending episode that truly made this work magnificent - and resonate so profoundly with the reader.

After having visited Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Grand Teton this summer, I cannot help but wonder, as one recent article asked: "Are we loving our National Parks to death?"

Egan's treatment of the nuances and multi-dimensional facets of this story is simply spellbinding.

Just one of the BEST books I have EVER Devoured.

5 Star Review. PERIOD!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2017
Carefully researched, relayed with great élan, and offering compelling insight into the birth and eventual entrenchment of the National Park System. The Big Burn examines the massive forest fire in the US northwest in 1910. Egan has that wonderful knack of making a historical text feel full of life and character without slipping into hyperbole or melodrama (in many ways, his book shares those wonderful qualities with the works of Candice Millard). Instead, he lets his primary sources shine through, and in this instance the action is intense and immediate, with life and death hanging in the balance. The conflagration left stretches of forest charred and stripped, amounting to square mileage the equivalent of the state of Connecticut. The story and its background (from the founding of the Park System and the resistance of special interests to that foundation) are gripping. Well worth the time of those who love history or conservation.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 10, 2015
The author, Timothy Egan, is an excellent reporter and columnist for The New York Times. Here with The Big Burn he reveals again how well he also writes history. In this case, the searing tale of the 1910 firestorm in the Northwest might have been lost to most Americans. Readers will find a wealth of information about not only the cataclysm itself but also what it represented for the management of the country’s forests, the development of fire prevention policies that held for decades, and the political will that a strong president exerted for wilderness preservation.

I especially appreciate the extensive research Egan undertook for this volume, poring over Forestry Service records, many newspaper accounts, and testimony from the people swept up in the horrendous fire and its aftermath. Readers become familiar with these individuals and care about the outcome for each of them. Egan’s writing is crisp, clear, and not overdone with a story that might easily prompt excess. The Big Burn is a compelling account, history at its best with a strong narrative and accessible analysis.

Michael Helquist, MARIE EQUI: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 3, 2014
Timothy Egan is a terrific storyteller, especially when he's giving us a history lesson. This very readable book recounts the biggest wildfire in American history, the 1910 conflagration in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana and Idaho. To set the stage, Egan draws vivid portraits of the key players in the new conservation movement, among them Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, as well as those who opposed it. TR's successor, the feckless William Howard Taft, along with members of Congress beholden to big-money interests who viewed protection of millions of acres of wilderness a barrier to accumulating even more wealth, succeeded in defunding the nascent Forest Service, sewing the seeds of the disaster that followed in the drought-plagued summer of 1910. Comparisons to current-day political standoffs are inevitable. Riveting, suspenseful, often tragic, Egan's exhaustively researched account is every bit as compelling as "The Worst Hard Time," his book on the Dust Bowl. Highly recommended.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 22, 2015
I knew little of the historical details surrounding the beginnings of the Forest Service, before reading this book. Now that I have read it, I am hungry for more. The accounts here of the horrific firestorm of 1910, and actions of conservationists such as Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Roosevelt's newly installed Forest Service chief, Gifford Pinochet, are captivating. On one hand, the degree of honor and dedication of these early dedicated conservationists is above reproach. On the other hand, the degree of corruption and political scheming demonstrated by a few wealthy families, who practically ran the entire country, if they did not own it, provides uneasy insight into the political and economic history of our country at the turn of the twentieth century.

The account of the actual fire brings the reader to the personal, individual perseverance and dedication of those who led the fight against a firestorm that was unstoppable by almost any standard. One can hardly imagine the bravery of those early foresters, who often were not paid by the government on time, and whose salaries provided meager existence when they were paid. The lack of support by the government, and almost no payments made to injured civilians who joined the fight, or to their survivors, is scandalous.

An inspiring, important story of early conservation movements is in this book, for those who are interested, and a cautionary tale of wealth and power is to be had as well. Definiitely worth reading for many reasons. The author does an admirable job of presenting this time and place in history, while also providing numerous human touches with his carefully researched details into the personalities and lives of people who were there. Excellent read!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 8, 2014
I am a huge fan of Theodore Roosevelt; I once played him in a re-creation of the 1912 presidential election, so I had studied him extensively in preparation. Thus, I knew a little bit about him before I read this book. I must say, for a historical account, this book makes gripping reading. The author makes clear in irresistible fashion the scope of the dreadful wildfire, and what made it happen, and the massive damage it left in its wake, and the lives it affected. However, I do have one serious quibble: I feel the title is a misnomer. Theodore Roosevelt is an incidental character in the story. Center stage is occupied by one of Roosevelt's chief lieutenants, Gifford Pinchot, who was one of the nation's first foresters and indeed the one who wages the fiercest fights against political opposition to conservation. I would also argue that there is scant attention devoted to how the fire "saved" America. There can be no doubt that it was a significant event and a substantial disaster, but that it saved America is a somewhat questionable conceit.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 13, 2016
This is an extremely well-written and researched account of the establishment of the US Forest Service and the history of huge, destructive fires in America in the late 19th and early 20th century. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this because it determined how forest fires would be fought for the next 80 years.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 27, 2014
This is another great read from Timothy Egan. He highlights an event in the history of our country I was not aware of, the burning of 3 million acres of forest in Idaho, Montana, and Washington states in 1910. There are really several stories woven together here, which is typical of his style. The story of the fire is the most riviting, but the surrounding history is also very imporant to understanding where we are today in terms of national lands and the fight to use/abuse them for their resource value versus saving them for future generations.
A drought dried out the land. The dry weather systems brought lightening. Then came the winds, the Palouse, named after the gently rolling waves of grass in Eastern Washington where they originate. Sound familiar? It is to those of us in the West who have had to run for our lives from wind whipped flames!
You meet the cast of characters, such as the robber Barron's and their bought and paid for politicians whose greed drives them to see no beauty in the natural world, only resources to exploit for profit. And profit they did! You meet Teddie Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, giants in the push to preserve lands undisturbed or minimally disturbed by commerce. You meet the first Rangers, underfunded, but idealistic in the shared vision to protect these majestic forests from the logging and mining interests, ever frothing at the edges, threatening to spoil the lands for their own selfish gain. Lastly, you meet the firefighters, a ragtag group of minimally trained foreigners and Americans, eager for a paycheck and a start in the fledgling US Forest Service. Most notable of these is Ed Pulaski, an assistant Ranger, a local, with varied skills, and a family and town of his own to protect. He was a hero, unsung in many ways, a tragic figure who will always be remembered by firefighters for the equipment he invented which still bears his name. He saved scores because of his knowledge of the local lands, his quick thinking, and his leadership.
As we fight a current drought in the West, and a never ending fire season, this book encourages us to remain humble before the very forces of nature which in the blink of an eye can destroy our hubristic endeavors.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 5, 2016
I bought this book to follow up on a PBS documentary about this fire and because I liked Mr. Egan's book about the dust bowl (The Worst Hard Time). The Big Burn is well-researched and lively. Beyond the story of a truly horrible wildfire, I learned a lot I didn't know about the US Forest Service,the beginnings of the protection of public land and the determination of many in Congress to stop that protection. This book is an excellent analysis of a little-known piece of history.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 11, 2014
Timothy Egan has written a highly engrossing story of the disastrous wild fire of August 1910 in northern Idaho and surrounding states. He then used it as a vehicle to explore the beginnings of the American conservation movement as promoted by Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir; as well as the start of the U. S. Forest Service. He brings in a number of colorful characters, the politics, economics, and conservation ideas of the time, leaving the reader with not only a wonderful narrative, but for most of us, a lot of new historical knowledge about American politics, the economic expansion of the west, and the sometimes brutal conditions at the turn of the century at the same time.
Egan’s research was extensive and thorough. His writing is crisp and colorful. The most vivid parts of the book, however, are the personal stories of the forest rangers, politicians, presidents (Roosevelt and Taft), business moguls, and ordinary citizens caught up in the largest and most intense wildfire ever seen in the U. S.
I highly recommend “The Big Burn” for anyone interested in U. S. history, the Teddy Roosevelt presidential period, or the very early start of the environmental movement.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse