My reads this past month were on the heavier side with two non fiction books and 1 historical fiction. The very slim commonality between the non fiction books is both involve National Parks and National Park Rangers. This could almost be a book flight.
True story about Papa Pilgrim and his move to a homestead with his 15 children located in a National Park. The book talks how Papa Pilgrim's beliefs conflicted with the National Park Service and the stand off he had with the park service. Papa Pilgrim has a dark past and later the abuse of his family members is revealed.
The Big Burn by Timothy Egan is our local county's all read - Whatcom Reads. I don't know if I would of picked up this book on my own. I found it a fascinating history about the formation of the National Parks and the struggle in the beginning to manage large amounts of land by few rangers and specifically this details the fire of 1910 that swept through Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The author really did a great job of profiling Gifford Pinchot, Chief Forester and Teddy Roosevelt and their vision of National Parks and Conservation. The fire of 1910 was devastating to the forest and mountain communities. The books does cover specifically what rangers and firefighters did to stay alive during the fire. I admit I had a few dreams/nightmares about fires while reading this. It also details the heroic efforts the rangers or Little G.P.'s made during the fire including the efforts of a ranger named Pulaski which centered around the town of Wallace, Idaho. There is a fire fighting tool that Pulaski created after the fires that still in use to today. It is called the Pulaski which is a head on a handle that contains the axe and hoe (adze) Roosevelt and Pinchot were the first to use the word conservation and believed the forest were for the people not the timber barons. Roosevelt and Pinchot firmly believed with enough rangers and firefighters they could control wildfires . Later the National Parks Service came to believe , " Fire is neither good nor bad . It just is." Jack Ward Thomas, Chief of the Forest Service. Leading to the policy that some fires would be allowed to burn and others would be actively put out. I did enjoy this book better than some of the selections for Whatcom Reads. It was not an easy read for me and I ended up renewing so it took me a good 4 weeks to get through. I think it was worth it. It seems so topical as there are currently fires raging in California and Colorado. I think it was also helpful that I had ridden the Hiawatha trail in Idaho as the book talks a lot about the fire and its effect on Wallace Idaho and how some people escaped on the train.
This is a fictional book that imagines that Andrew Carnegie had a budding romance with his mother's ladies maid. The maid Clara Kelley may have spurred Andrew into becoming a philanthropist. This well research book was a great summer read. I read Marie Benedict's book, The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict and I also enjoyed it. Interestingly I read The Other Einstein July 2017.