Featured works

Commentary
Commentary on NAS Workshop on Wildland Fire Research
Contribution to ASEH 4oth anniversary presidential slam.
Contemporary American fire
A multi-work survey by grand narrative and regional reconnaissances.
Popular survey of fire
Illustrated digest of why fire looks the way it does today and how to think about it.
Updated textbook
Continuing evolution of textbooks on wildland and landscape fire.
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.

Quick Links

The Last Lost World: Ice Ages, Human Origins, and the Invention of the Pleistocene

co-authored with Lydia V. Pyne [website]

"For science mavens of a philosophical bent, this may be the book of the year, a font of knowledge and, what's more and better, intellectual exercise."
- Ray Olson, Booklist

from the introduction

"Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague - vague."
- Mark Twain

Mark Twain was right, but what makes the composite of glacial epochs known as the Pleistocene vague is also what makes it great. Among geologic epochs it has sought to embrace two unique events, each with a distinctive narrative and both at odds with the principles by which the rest of the geological timescale is ordered. . .

The first event is the sudden upheaval in global climate that manifested itself most spectacularly in continent-scale ice sheets and their geographic analogs in the form of massive lakes and deserts. The second event is the evolution of the modern hominins, whose tenure on Earth has, with equal force, both defined and confused the boundaries of the epoch. both evens are processes that translate into narratives. The first, or geographic, narrative tells how the epoch got its ice. The second, or hominin, narrative tells how it got its most distinctive creature. Both topics trace out, and then acting together like shears of a scissors, cut out the borders of the Pleistocene.

But more than simple natural events both ice and hominins are also ideas. That's what transfigures data points into story, adds cultural value, and creates understanding. Those ideas did not emerge by spontaneous generation of the mud of artifacts and sediment cores; they have their own historical settings, their own intellectual lineages, their own separate and collective narratives. They describe how the epoch acquired meaning. They tell how, as it were, the Pleistocene got its mind.

Ice, humans, ideas - the Last Lost World is the outcome of all three, flowing into and out of each other like braided channels on an outwash plain. In our own retelling we look to the sciences to identify the natural processes at work and to craft a basic chronology of events. But we look to other scholarships to comment on how such information becomes narrative and how an understanding of he Pleistocene plenum, including the evolution of hominins, has itself evolved.


For more, click on the sites below ~

Prologue: Mossel Bay, South Africa [pdf]

For the Page 99 test, click here and go to the July 5, 2012 entry.

For an annotated outline of the book, click here

For reviews
* Booklist
* Kirkus
*Library Journal

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

The Pleistocene, intellectually rediscovered


Co-author Lydia excavating in Ethiopia. For more, click here.

Steve in Antarctica, Earth's vestigial Pleistocene