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Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America / Edition 1

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"1988 saw forest fires rage across Yellowstone National Park, destroying more than a million acres. As the nation watched the area around Old Faithful burn, an old debate reached a fever pitch: Should fires be suppressed immediately or allowed to run their natural course? And when should firefighters be sent to battle the flames and at what cost?" "Scorched Earth takes us from the blazing heat of those fires to the park's origins a century before. Environmental reporter Rocky Barker was on the ground and in the smoke during the 1988 fires, and he digs back in time to reveal the history of Yellowstone and fire fighting in the American West. The story begins in the aftermath of the Civil War with a cast of colorful characters: a veteran general and his officers, America's first investment banker, railroad barons, naturalists, and firefighters - all of whom left their mark on Yellowstone, none more so than Phil Sheridan and the U.S. Army." In writing the history of Yellowstone's park, they also laid the foundation for managing and protecting public lands throughout the West. John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and other leading conservationists march across the pages of Scorched Earth, now collaborating, now clashing over how best to preserve the West's unique landscapes in the face of forest fires.
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Editorial Reviews

Natural Areas Journal

"This is a good book and a good read for those interested in the history of wildfire, resource preservation, and fire fighting efforts of the West."
Chair of the Board and Faculty Director of the Center of the American West - Patricia Nelson Limerick

"Rocky Barker's Scorched Earth presents Westerners with a much-needed opportunity to consider, with both depth and breadth, the big picture of wildlands fire in the region. Fair, thorough, clearheaded, and wonderfully attentive to the origins of our current practices and problems, Barker provides us with a prime demonstration of the value that journalists with integrity and spirit provide to their society."
The Washington Post
"Scorched Earth is part policy treatise, part history, and part adventure story."
High Country News
"Scorched Earth will likely be recognized as a seminal work in the West's fire history — poignant historical analysis, told with a storyteller's flair."
Natural Areas Journal - Gerry Wright
 “A lively and revealing narrative of the scoundrels, idealists, vainglorious generals and solid pioneers who parleyed a sulfurous, geyser-punctuated paradise into a world-class national park system.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and John James Au - Richard Rhodes
“A lively and revealing narrative of the scoundrels, idealists, vainglorious generals and solid pioneers who parleyed a sulfurous, geyser-punctuated paradise into a world-class national park system.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559637350
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rocky Barker is the author of three books, including Saving All the Parts (Island Press, 1993). The environmental writer for the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Barker has seen his columns syndicated in newspapers across the nation. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him with its National Conservation Achievement Award in 1999.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: September 7, 1988  
Chapter 1. The General
Chapter 2. Jay Cooke, Nathaniel Langford, and the Northern Pacific
Chapter 3. The Creation Myth
Chapter 4. Yellowstone's Preservation Imperiled 
Chapter 5. The Cavalry Rides to Preservation's Rescue
Chapter 6. The Gospel of Fire
Chapter 7. Fire and Rain
Chapter 8. The Big Blowup
Chapter 9. The End of the Trail
Chapter 10. Green Fire
Chapter 11. The Face of Conservation
Chapter 12. The Natural Revolution
Chapter 13. Greater Yellowstone Rediscovered
Chapter 14. Calm before the Storm
Chapter 15. The Fires of Summer
Chapter 16. Burn, Baby, Burn
Chapter 17. Moment of Truth
Chapter 18. From Old Faithful to Los Alamos
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