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World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth

Overview

Back in Print-- World Fire is the story of how fire and humans have coevolved. The two are inseperable, and together they have repeatedly remade the planet. "Stephen J. Pyne writes about fire as if he were on fire, with searing, consuming heat and light. When he looks at fire he sees not biological catastrophe but social illumination and natural renewal...This book will change the way you view fire--and the way you see us routinely fighting ...

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Overview

Back in Print-- World Fire is the story of how fire and humans have coevolved. The two are inseperable, and together they have repeatedly remade the planet. "Stephen J. Pyne writes about fire as if he were on fire, with searing, consuming heat and light. When he looks at fire he sees not biological catastrophe but social illumination and natural renewal...This book will change the way you view fire--and the way you see us routinely fighting it." --Seattle Times-

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Pyne considers the evolution of fire in such diverse regions as Australia, Africa, Brazil, Sweden, Greece, Iberia, Russia, and India and then ponders Antarctica, the land without fire. As he examines changing techniques for and attitudes toward fire control, Pyne challenges our concepts of naturre and wilderness and explains why the study and management of fire have tremendous environmental, cultural, and political implications.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Over the millennia, contends Pyne, humans used fire to sustain slash-and-burn agriculture, and fires set judiciously or occurring spontaneously benefited ecosystems by exposing land to more sunlight, restructuring relationships among species, decomposing debris and fostering biodiversity. Lamenting today's ``obsessive fire control'' and the alleged global spread of ``Europe's pyrophobia,'' Pyne (Fire in America) maintains that ``most American ecosystems in fact suffer from a fire famine.'' Impassioned, often lyrical and sure to be controversial, this incendiary, not always convincing survey assesses fire use and fire-control practices in Australia, Russia, Brazil, Greece, Spain, India, Sweden and Antarctica. Charging that the U.S. Forest Service in the 1930s suppressed research data supporting the ecological value of controlled burning, Pyne maintains that current U.S. firefighting practices are mired in bureaucracy, confusion and overemphasis on the control of wildland fires. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The history of humankind is inseparable from the history of fire. It is difficult to imagine how Homo sapiens could have come to dominate the planet without it. Moreover, by studying fire we can learn much about our past and present selves. Pyne, an Arizona State University professor and the author of several other books about fire, including Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia (LJ 3/1/91) and Fire on the Rim: A Firefighter's Season at the Grand Canyon (LJ 4/15/89), takes a look at fire and our relationship to it by focusing on nine different regions of the world. Antarctica is included for stark contrast, since it is a land without fire. Another section of this well-written book deals primarily with control of forest fires in modern times in the American West. One point stressed throughout is that our deciding not to burn can be as irresponsible to an ecosystem as improper burning. An intelligent yet accessible book not limited to scolars; recommended for academic and public libraries.-William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Booknews
Pyne's narrative of how fire and humans have coevolved surveys the emerging geography of global fire, examines fire in the contemporary world of unsettled ecology where there is too much fire in the "wrong" places and not enough in the "right" places, and considers the future, arguing for fire's regenerative powers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
Explaining how fire and humanity have co-evolved like the bonded strands of a DNA molecule, the author surveys the geography of global fire, revealing a strange disorder where there is too much fire in the wrong places and not enough in the right ones.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295975931
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books: Cycle of Fire
  • Edition description: New Preface by the Author
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by William CrononPreface to the 1997 Paperback EditionSMOKE REPORTThe New World Order on FireSIZE-UPFirestick History; or, How to Set the World on FireHOTSPOTTINGFire Flume (Australia)Veld Fire (South Africa)Queimada Para Limpeza (Brazil)Svedjebruk (Sweden)Greek Fire (Greece)La Nueva Reconquista (Iberia)Red Skies of Irkutsk (Russia)Nataraja (India)White Darkness (Antarctica)CONTROLAmerican Fire-- Initial Attac: The U.S. Forest Service Fights Fire-- ColdtrailingWilderness Fire-- Vestal Fires and Virgin Lands-- The SUmmer We Let Wild Fire LooseIntermix Fire-- The Fire This Time-- Nouvelle SouthwestMOP-UPConsumed by Either Fire or FireAFTER THE LAST SMOKEFlame and FortuneNotes and Additional ReadingIndexIllustration sources and credits

University of Washington Press

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