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VB Reads... Engaged Citizens Book Group

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Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:00pm
Event address: 
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015
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Read and discuss a variety of books exploring how to create a more civil and engaged community.Join Mary Dumas on the third Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:30. Authors DO NOT attend. Meetings are in the Readings Gallery -- brown bag lunches are encouraged. Anyone interested in exploring their role as an engaged citizen is welcome.

Wednesday, February 20th, 12:00pm

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, 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 an eyeblink. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men -- college boys, day-workers, immigrants from mining camps -- to fight the fires. 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, through the eyes of the people who lived it. Equally dramatic, though, 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 every citizen. The robber barons fought him and the rangers charged with protecting the reserves, but even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by those same rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service with consequences felt in the fires of today.

Books: 
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780547394602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 7th, 2010

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