In "The Worst Hard Time," Egan put the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl at the center of a rich history. Now he performs the same alchemy with ...Show synopsisIn "The Worst Hard Time," Egan put the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl at the center of a rich history. Now he performs the same alchemy with this story of the largest-ever forest fire in America, painting a moving portrait of the people who lived through the disaster.Hide synopsis
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An interesting, exciting read. Though this work is about the major forest fire of 1910, it is also the story of the beginnings of the conservation movement, such as it is, in the US. Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot were instrumental in setting aside millions of acres of forest despite corrupt politicians and robber barons. The politicians and robber barons attempted to starve the forest service to death but then came the big burn and the heroic stories that came out of it. The forest service received more funding to build roads and lookouts to better respond to forest fires. However, the ending of this work is somewhat depressing because the national forests were opened to robber barons who denuded the slopes of trees with their clear-cutting operations using the roads built by taxpayer money. Though now I think the major lumber companies have seen the light because they need trees and clear cutting without reforestation would mean they would lose their resource.
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