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World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth Hardcover – March, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From 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
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1st edition (March 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805032479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805032475
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,924,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book caused me to think of the totality of the sciences blindly lurching forward to stuydy the effects of 40,000 years of unrestrained fire use while that use changes.
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