‘Big Burn’ chosen as DCB’s book project

Dakota College at Bottineau has chosen “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America” by Timothy Egan as the title for its campus book read during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Each year, the two-year college chooses a book that illustrates the campus theme: nature, technology and beyond. The book chosen is taught in classes and is discussed in lectures throughout the academic year. Egan’s Big Burn speaks of “nature” in telling the story of the 1910 fire that burned national forests in Washington, Idaho and Montana, the biggest forest fire in U.S. history. The book illustrates the “technology” aspect of DCB’s theme by accounts of early 20th century technology but also by discussing a tool manufactured after the fire, the Pulaski, still used today to fight forest fires according to the U.S. Forest Service’s website. The “beyond” aspect of DCB’s theme might be found in the book’s discussion of the conservation movement in U.S. history, the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, and the arguments that supported or opposed creating national forests.

Egan, the author of this year’s campus book read, writes a column published every Friday in the New York Times. On its website, the Times makes available a brief biography of Egan, and it reports he has written five books. “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” won the National Book Award in 2006, “considered the nation’s highest literary honor.” In 2001, as part of a team of reporters who wrote the series “How Race is Lived in America,” Egan won the Pulitzer Prize.

Dakota College at Bottineau will offer lectures about topics related to The Big Burn, each lecture with an accompanying discussion, at noon and 7 p.m. starting in September. Dakota College at Bottineau offers these lectures to provide further information on topics and issues raised by the book. These lectures are free and open to the public. Dakota College at Bottineau will publish on its website the schedule of speakers and topics once the dates and times have been confirmed.