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Scar Vegas and Other Stories

Paine, Tom

ISBN 10: 0152164707 / ISBN 13: 9780152164706
Published by Harcourt, San Diego, 2002
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing, full letter line (A-F). Dated, inscribed, and signed by the author on the front endpaper: "April 4, 2000 / Dear C--, / Thanks so much for hosting the discussion of my book at your beautiful home, with your wonderful friends! / Best, Tom." Also signed on the title page: "Tom Paine." Book is tight, square, and unmarked; spine ends bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $22.00). Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 003218

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Scar Vegas and Other Stories

Publisher: Harcourt, San Diego

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


  • Western Writers of America Spur Award for Teen Fiction
  • Montana Book Award Honor
On a hot summer day in 1910 a teenage soldier assembled his rifle. A girl argued to save trees on a mountain homestead. A young man set out to fight fire. None knew that soon the many blazes burning across northern Idaho would blow up and send a wall of flame racing their way.
Portraying a natural disaster that would dictate how the United States would fight wildfire in the 20th century, The Big Burn brings to life a turning point in fire science, forestry, and history.Richly drawn characters doing their best against gigantic odds will grip your heart. The realistic depiction of wildfire will make you feel you were there.
With non-fiction Field Notes and an Afterword about firefighting today, it's a novel that moves from the 1900s into the 21st century.  Whether you're an adult or young adult reader, you'll come away with a new understanding of nature and of the role forest fire plays in shaping the environment.  And you'll want to thank the firefighters who face wildfire every year.
From the Christopher Award-winning author of Hitch and Paper Daughter
"Historically accurate and dramatically engaging...a great choice for anyone who is interested in learning about the phenomena of forest fires while also reading a great story" -Teen Reads
"Presents a vivid picture of a natural disaster while skillfully conveying in fluid prose the individual stories of the three young people" -Horn Book

"Fascinating and harrowing...for any kid whose tastes run to disaster and survival, mixed into a coming of age story" -Richie's Picks
"Readers will arrive at the final pages with an effortlessly acquired cache of information on how fire travels and the strategies employed to save land and life" -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
  • National Book Foundation Book to Read Aloud
  • Groton Reads teen selection and companion read to Timothy Egan's non-fiction book also titled The Big Burn--Groton Public Library community-wide reading event
  • Book of the Month--Center for Integrating Research and Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University
  • Keystone State Reading Association Young Adult Book Award nominee
  • Idaho State by State Selection--The Great American Reading Project
  • Connecticut Adult Virtual High School Contemporary Literature reading selection

"Will soon have the reader enthralled" -Children's Literature
"Readers with a taste for sprawling tales will find their efforts rewarded" -Kirkus
"The masterful nonfiction introduction...moves through many small details, then widens to the big picture... At this point, we know we have to read on" -Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, author of NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students The Call of the Osprey
 "A story of danger and drama...exciting but also instructive and informative" -Kliatt
"Will heighten appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of firefighters and settlers" -Publishers Weekly
"While aimed at teens, the novel makes a compelling read for adults" -Billings Gazette
"Readers will become engrossed in this dramatic tale of risk, bravery, personal responsibility and maturation" -The Olympian
"Very well-researched...informative, and yet absorbing at the same time" -Inkweaver
Praise from readers "A welcome addition to any classroom library, especially for those reluctant readers"
"Not to be missed"
"So-real-you-could-reach-out-and-touch-them characters"
"Great historical fiction"
"Keeps you wanting more"
 "A thrilling novel with much authenticity"
 "As a librarian for youth I found this book to rate five stars and more"
"Good historical fiction - replete with adventure, romance and suspense"


"Out there in the distance, the pink spread from sky to ground, became a pink-and-red-and-bronze mass of color billowing up in the southwest and running toward him. Sticks appeared to be tumbling through the air before it. Then Jarrett realized they were too far away to be sticks. My god, he thought, those are trees."

Wildfires were a terrifying experience 100 years ago, and they have become equally terrifying to many Americans in recent drought years. The Big Burn is based on the true story of one of the worst wildfires of the century, a conflagration that destroyed 2.5 million acres of public land and killed 90 people. In the hot, dry summer of 1910, hundreds of small fires were burning all over Montana and the Idaho panhandle, lit by dry thunderstorms, sparks from trains, untended campfires. On August 20, a blowup began as the many blazes, pushed by wind, raced up the slopes until they joined to ignite a crown fire that roared across treetops, creating its own wind in a mighty inferno.

This novel tells the story of three pairs of young people in the fire's path: Ranger Samuel Logan and his 16-year-old brother Jarrett, who yearns to fight this fiery monster; Lizbeth, who loves the forest, and her aunt Celia, who wants only to profit from it; and two African American soldiers, honorable Seth and his shifty sidekick, Abel. The way their lives interlock with the fire and each other, and the "field notes" that document the course of the blaze make up a thrilling novel with much authenticity for the place and time and for the nature of wildfire itself. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

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