From prehistory to the present-day conservation movement, Pyne explores the efforts of successive American cultures to master wildfire and to use it to shape the landscape.
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On rare occasions, the historical literature is enriched by the introduction of a broad new field for study, by a book that dramatically expands the boundaries of scholarly investigation. Stephen Pyne's Fire in America is such a book. It achieves the Promethean goal of bringing fire to history. * Science * This unusual and imaginative work takes a phenomenon that seems at first glance to be so elemental as to have no history and no evolution, and gives it a dynamic role in the drama of American advance from frontier through agricultural to industrial society. By integrating the history of fire with ecology, agriculture, logging, and resource management, Pyne has made a unique contribution to the history of science and technology, as well as to cultural history in general. * Isis * Stephen J. Pyne compels our admiration for his gargantuan ambition and richly informed intelligence. He tells us more than anyone else to date has about the role of fire in the landscape, tells us we have been wrong in assuming a pristine state of nature before the white man's invasion, tells us what fire has meant to the rise of civilization and this nation. No one interested in environmental history can afford to ignore this massive achievement. * Journal of American History *
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