Selected Books and Essays

Fire - a biography
A thumbnail history of fire on Earth and the role of fire's keystone species
The two fires of Fort McMurray
Interpreting the Fort McMurray fire through the two grand realms of planetary combustion
What should we do with Smokey Bear?
Fire on Earth - talks and texts
Some images as the audience saw me at TED. A companion text for Aeon.
A sideways observation
Sketch of Buzz Aldrin from watching his performance at MIT+150 on the future of exploration.
Writing manual
Art and craft of writing nonfiction books, especially history.
Centennial fire
Historical survey of the Great Fires, their context and consequences.
Geographic exploration
A group of books organized around the concept of three great ages of discovery
Fire on Earth
Includes fire histories for Earth, America, Canada, Australia, and Europe including Russia. Other books on fire management.
Grand Canyon Suite
The Grand Canyon provides a setting, at least in part, for several books.

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Welcome to my author page

Consuming fire - I've lots of occasions recently to think of that phrase.

My multi-book survey of the American fire scene is roaring toward publication. Between Two Fires was published in October 2015. The Florida and California volumes of To the Last Smoke have come out in spring 2016. The Northern Rockies and Southwest will follow this fall. For more details, see below.

Then there were two opportunities to speak before special audiences. The Long Now Foundation invited me to speak in their Seminars About Long-term Thinking. You can watch a video of "Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep" here.

Stewart Brand and I fielding questions from the audience after the talk.

And I gave a TED Talk in Vancouver, 2015 - Fire, a biography. When TED posts it, I'll provide a link.

At the TED Conference, 2015

Then the books, which seem to be propagating across the landscape:.

Begin with the big story, a survey of the American fire scene since 1960. Briefly, the project pivots on two complementary products. Between Two Fires tells the grand narrative of America's great cultural revolution on fire, while To the Last Smoke provides color commentary through suites of essays on various themes and regional reconnaissances. After years of studying fire around the world, I'm having to relearn the details of my own country. For particulars, see the project website. Regional suites to date include Florida, California, the Northern Rockies, Great Plains, and the Southwest with another four surveys planned. If I can write them, the University of Arizona Press will publish them.

But fire is a major theme in other books as well. See
After Preservation
, which I helped edit and to which I contributed an essay, "Green Fire Meets Red Fire"; Fire: Nature and Culture; Fire on Earth: An Introduction; the coming series of books on fire in contemporary America; even The Last Lost World - after banking the coals for a few years, fire has returned. I expect it to continue for several years more.

Meanwhile, fire continues in the news, and I'm asked to comment. See, for example, my thoughts on the Fort McMurray fire (2016).

As a rookie firefighter, I was enjoined to stay with a fire until the last smoke was out. I did, though I doubt that I will ever extinguish my literary smokechasing.

Other news - the graduate Certificate in Nonfiction Writing and Publishing that I've been pushing at ASU went live last August. Students are enrolling. The Piper Center for Creative Writing has signed on to assist. While I teach courses on Fire and on Exploration, my graduate teaching is almost wholly devoted to teaching writing.



Florida and California fire surveys (spring 2016)

Northern Rockies and Southwest fire surveys (fall 2016)

A salon of ideas about the future of nature protection in America

A condensed survey of fire in Earthly nature and in human culture, lavishly illustrated with photos and art. For more information, click here .

Continental ice, megafauna, erectines and Neanderthals, creation stories, big ideas - what's not to like?


The Grand Tour, and beyond - now in paperback