Selected Books and Essays

Words on fire
On-going comments on the American fire scene
New book on fire
A concise, lavishly illustrated survey of fire on Earth.
New essay
Reinstating Pragmatism into history and philosophy; co-authored with Ben Minteer.
Recent book
A sideways observation
Sketch of Buzz Aldrin from watching his performance at MIT+150 on the future of exploration.
A remembrance
I knew Bill Goetzmann in his prime in his preferred habitats. He taught us how to turn our experiences into ideas.
Now in paperback
A narrative of the Voyager mission within the larger context of geographic exploration by Western civilization.
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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Fire: Nature and Culture

Fire - natural, cultural, telegenic. A look at a uniquely fire planet and its uniquely fire creature.

Fire offers a distilled but panoramic perspective on fire on Earth.

It opens with a look at a burned tree in the Valley of Mexico, which can be taken to symbolize the three great epochs of fire. It then proceeds through four themes. Part 1, Fire Wild, summarizes the physical chemistry, ecology, and evolutionary presence of fire over the past 400 million years. Part 2, Fire Tame, explores the relationship between fire and humanity, each of which has leveraged the power and presence of the other. Part 3, Fire Cultured, examines some themes in the culture of fire - its technology, its science, its art, and its ceremonies. Part 4, Fire Today, explains why fire looks the way it does in our times and how humanity's firepower is reshaping the planet in ways that warrants a new epoch, the Anthropocene. An epilogue returns to the question of the three fires and how they are apportioned into two great realms of combustion, one that burns surface biomass and the other, fossil biomass.

Illustrated with over a hundred figures, including works of art, half of them in color. A great introduction to the subject for the general reader.

A concise, lavishly illustrated survey of fire on Earth.