"The fate of humanity, like the fate of the earth, is tied to the fires that have made the world as we know it—the fires whose history is told as well in this book as it has ever been told before. If one wants to understand just how completely the story of the human past is also the story of fire on earth, there is no better place to start than this small book."—William Cronon
Here, in one concise book, is the essential story of fire. Noted environmental historian Stephen J. Pyne describes the evolution of fire through prehistoric and historic times down to the present, examining contemporary attitudes from a long-range, informed perspective. Fire: A Brief History surveys the principles behind aboriginal and agricultural fire practices, the characteristics of urban fire, and the relationship between controlled combustion and technology. Pyne describes how fire’s role in cities, suburbs, exurbs, and wildlands has been shaped by an industrialized, urban way of thinking.
Fire: A Brief History will be of value to readers interested in the environment from the standpoint of anthropology, geography, forestry, science and technology, history, or the humanities.