From the Publisher
"What a fun, totally engrossing book! Gurstelle’s projects—everything from a tiny single-candle engine to a flamethrower—are both easy to build and hard to resist. But along the way Gurstelle also weaves in a fascinating account of how the mysteries of fire were deciphered by some of history’s greatest scientists. Think of The Practical Pyromaniac as a cookbook for the budding scientist in each of us." —James Meigs, editor in chief of Popular Mechanics
"If only I had had a reference like William Gurstelle's terrific [book] ... provides no-nonsense walkthroughs of a host of excellent, intriguing and magical experiments (with plenty of very sage safety talk and advice)." —Mythbusters' Adam Savage in his review for The Wall Street Journal
"William Gustelle is the bomb—as well as the blowtorch, the catapult, the guided missile, and now the fire tornado. His enthusiasm for just-shy-of-catastrophic chemistry is infectious and inspiring, and once again he’s proven that science can be bold, captivating, and fun for all." —Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired and author of The Decision Tree
"A recipe book packed with fun (and safe) fire projects, fit for science geeks, garage experimenters and casual weekend flame-throwers." —MSNBC.com
"When the zombie apocalypse comes, I want William Gurstelle’s books in my survival bunker. The Practical Pyromaniac delivers the history, science, and practical know-how needed to play safely with, and truly understand, Prometheus’s gift. To quote Beavis: ‘Fire. Heh. Heh. Fire!’" —Ken Denmead, publisher of GeekDad.com and author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share
"This book isn't just playtime for pyros ... [it is] full of cool things to build, sure enough, but it's also an educational and entertaining trip back through the history of science. This one deserves maximum exposure to both the build-it-yourself crowd and those fascinated by the cul-de-sacs of scientific history." —Booklist
"Simply stated directions and easy-to-follow illustrations usher readers through more than 15 incendiary projects ... The author renders otherwise dense and complicated scientific explanations imminently understandable." —Kirkus Reviews
“This book packs enough punch to fill a dozen weekends with high-powered hijinks that will amaze and delight the members of your secret garage science club.” —Mark Frauenfelder, editor in chief of MAKE
Learn to play and build with fire—and not get burned.
Gurstelle (Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously, 2009, etc.), pyrotechnic aficionado and professional engineer, releases a powderkeg in this book, which blends history and science education with fire-inspired DIY projects.Beginning with a well-researched examination of flames and heat, he provides simple exercises for readers unseasoned in the art of fire, offering tips that can be applied both practically and recreationally. Safety is of the utmost importance to Gurstelle, who enumerates a myriad of thorough and clear stated warnings and precautions. The author overlooks nothing (there's even a guide to the proper use of fire extinguishers), but a section on burns and their treatment would make a welcome addition. Readers are urged to proceed with caution and begin by designing a simple flame tube—candles that produce long-sustained musical tones—before moving on to more complicated projects like assembling a propane-fueled flamethrower. Instructions are woven through with pivotal moments in the history of fire, from its discovery by cavemen to the scientific stylings of 19th-century chemist and physicist Michael Faraday. Gurstelle's simply stated directions and easy-to-follow illustrations usher readers through more than 15 incendiary projects.
The author renders otherwise dense and complicated scientific explanations imminently understandable.