The 2014 SBCC Reads!

The nation’s largest wildfire and the nation’s most dramatic president, part of the social, cultural, and political history that led to the formation of the U.S. Forest Service.

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

The Big Burn is the story of the 1910 wildfire that burned more than three million acres in two days across the national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Egan’s account of the nation’s largest wildfire is interwoven into the equally-dramatic story of President Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts, along with chief forester Gifford Pinchot, to fight the destruction of the country’s natural resources. Set against the backdrop of the fire, Egan chronicles the social, cultural, and political history that led to the formation of the U.S. Forest Service. Pioneers in this new notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot created the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen.

Excerpt from the book.

The Luria Library will distribute free copies of the book to students starting February 3rd and we are hoping that when students finish reading the book, they will redistribute their copy to another reader! There will be a collection basket in the library for this purpose.

The author will speak at UCSB on March 4, 2014. The lecture will be held in Campbell Hall.

This guide to SBCC Reads 2014 gives more details about activities and information related to this book.


Purposes of SBCC Reads 2014 are to:

  • Explore interdisciplinary issues sparked by the selected book through conversations, readings, displays, and other activities. Free copies of the book will distributed to interested students; faculty members are encouraged to use the book in class curricula.
  • Generate informed discussion of key issues by promoting the reading and discussion of books on the broad themes in the book.
  • Focus on academic disciplines at SBCC which provide us with a broader understanding of the issues raised in the book.
  • Create further campus appreciation of the library and the role it plays in education and research.
  • Encourage the exchange of ideas with members of U.C. Santa Barbara, Westmont College, and other Santa Barbara community members.