Thursday, December 17, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt and "The Big Burn"

The Birth of Conservationism
Timothy Egan's The Big Burn : Teddy Roosevelt & The Fire That Saved America relates the tragic story of the great fire which rolled through Idaho, Washington, & Montana in August 1910 and scorched millions of acres. Fuelled by drought conditions, the fire was the worst fire disaster our country had seen up to that point.

Matched against the fire were forest rangers and almost ten thousand firefighters from all walks of life, whose heroism helped shape public opinion about conservationism. The story of the fire is also TR's, whose leadership in the face of devastation and politics forever linked his name with conservation and preservation of America’s natural resources.

Further Reading
Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt & the Crusade for America, 1858-1919 by Douglas Brinkley conveys the larger story of TR's views on the natural world, their source, and his accomplishments in the arena of 20th century environmental politics.

For middle school readers, Jeanette Ingold's historical/adventure fiction novel, The Big Burn, deftly tells the story of three very different teenagers whose lives intersect as the 1910 fires burn.

Post by Bev Simmons