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Download The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America Audiobook, by Timothy Egan Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,680 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Timothy Egan Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9781441806987
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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 — college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps — to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force. Equally dramatic is the larger story he tells of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen. The robber barons fought Roosevelt and Pinchot’s rangers, but the Big Burn saved the forests even as it destroyed them: the heroism shown by the rangers turned public opinion permanently in their favor and became the creation myth that drove the Forest Service, with consequences still felt in the way our national lands are protected — or not — today. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 2/8/2014

    " Great historical view presented in such an engaging manner! Both men and woman will enjoy! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 2/8/2014

    " The history of the conservationist movement in America and musch more. Not just for Westerners. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kurt B. | 1/29/2014

    " One of the best books I've read in months, a cracking historical tale of a landmark ecological and political event of which I previously knew next-to-nothing. If you're a fan of Egan's weekly column in the New York Times, or simply a conservation or PNW history buff, this should be on your "must read" list. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hilarie Ehlert | 1/15/2014

    " An excellent history of the 1910 fires in Montana and Idaho. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shaun | 1/10/2014

    " This was an interesting book about a huge fire in Idaho, Montana, and Washington in the early 1900s. It describes how the Forest Service came into existence. It details what people did to survive this massive fire and describes the gruesome details of death by fire. I'm on a bit of a Teddy Roosevelt kick right now and he led an amazing life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 1/4/2014

    " Enjoyed this book. Had read previous works by this author and find them very well researched and written. I think I most enjoyed the gems about President Taft ! Never knew he was such a "shadow president". Interesting to learn about all the government policies that we just take for granted today-many came into being only after some hard fought battles ! Would recommend- esp. for history lovers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 1/4/2014

    " A good read! A little dramatic for non-fiction, but that's one of the things that kept it so interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mrskathleen | 12/9/2013

    " Really interesting history of the fire, and the genesis and evolution of the U.S. Forest Service before and after that particular blaze. Offers interesting philosophical and political questions that we Americans are still pondering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corey | 11/30/2013

    " Great look into the inception of the National Forest Service and a brief glimpse into Teddy Roosevelt's presidency. Without him and his friend Gifford Pinchot, there probably wouldn't be a public parks system like we know it today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 11/26/2013

    " Actually, currently listening to it on CD. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Jo Atwood | 5/6/2013

    " This history of an enormous forest fire (the size of Connecticut) is also a story of individual actions, government response, and new expectations. Rather timely, given the oil spill going on now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie Evans | 4/30/2013

    " Absolutely riveting. Few non-fiction books can compel both my mind and my heart, but this one did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jschiersch | 8/24/2012

    " Anyone with interest in the nation's wild places will love this account of the early years of the Forest Service and how its mission has changed over the years. The account of the burn of 1910 is fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lowry | 8/3/2012

    " I thought this was a great narrative of a particular fire, but also a good overview of the institution of our national forest system, which I now understand a lot better than I did before. It sounds a bit dry, but really, it's an engaging read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew Kitslaar | 3/7/2012

    " It started off a bit slow to set the stage. However, once set, the book is an exciting adventure (and history lesson) about the largest forest fire in the USA. I highly recommend for those who are interested in history, politics, and environmental studies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 11/5/2011

    " Great book! well written and informative in many areas of interest: conservation, politics, us forest service. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 11/3/2011

    " Good history of an event I didn't know much about. I'm a big admirer of Teddy Roosevelt, and it was good to read this illustration of his legacy in one of his biggest passions, conservation. The big fire of 1910 could have been even more devastating without the Forest Service in place. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 9/14/2011

    " Fair. Well researched but did not really draw me in. Probably would not have read it if it were not a book for my book club. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzie Deborah | 7/2/2011

    " I liked the information on Teddy Roosevelt, but was not really interested in how the forestry department was started. Although, once I finished the book, I'm glad I have that knowledge in my head. The book picked up it's pace once the fire started and became more interesting to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louis | 6/7/2011

    " Excellent history of the origins of the U.S. Forest Service, the struggles over conservation as federal policy in the early 20th century and the wildfire in the Northwest that established it as a vital government function. Look for a fuller review on my blog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 5/28/2011

    " Real life....real people. Much better than fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla | 5/23/2011

    " Good history of an event I didn't know much about. I'm a big admirer of Teddy Roosevelt, and it was good to read this illustration of his legacy in one of his biggest passions, conservation. The big fire of 1910 could have been even more devastating without the Forest Service in place. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 5/16/2011

    " With a husband who has been a wildland firefigher, and a son who is currently working for the Forest Service on a hotshot crew, how could I not read this history of the Forest Service as we know it today? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Devin | 4/25/2011

    " I thought this book was okay
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 4/24/2011

    " One of my new favorite books and authors. I was shocked at how little I knew about westward expansion and Theodore Roosevelt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/19/2011

    " This book was amazing. A story about the huge forest fire in Montana in 1910, interspersed with stories of Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, conservationism and the US Forest Service. Very readable and not too "history-dry." I LOVED this book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mrskathleen | 4/11/2011

    " Really interesting history of the fire, and the genesis and evolution of the U.S. Forest Service before and after that particular blaze. Offers interesting philosophical and political questions that we Americans are still pondering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 4/7/2011

    " While not as riveting as "The Worst Hard Time," this was still an engaging read. I imagine if you're not really into forestry, though, it could be a little boring in parts. It also further solidified my belief that Teddy Roosevelt is the greatest president ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 4/3/2011

    " Great book--facts and story mixed together to tell the story of the Big Burn. "

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About the Author
Author Timothy EganTimothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of five books, most recently The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award for nonfiction and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a New York Times Notable Book, a Washington State Book Award winner, and a Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book. Egan writes a weekly column, “Outposts,” for the New York Times.
About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.