The Pyrocene is a short book that packs an intellectual punch. It is a distillation of historian Stephen Pyne's five decades of scholarship on a subject he largely created. In this slim but powerful volume, Pyne lays out a narrative arc of Earthly fire in geologic time, places our present in that arc, and identifies choices humankind has for the future. In that long history of fire on Earth, Pyne recounts how humans used and constrained but ultimately lost control of this natural force.

Over his distinguished career, Pyne invented the subfield of fire history while also taking detours into explorations of geology, ice, and space. To create this book, Pyne packed his life's work into a crucible and heated it until all the nonessential words burned off, leaving the most concise thesis possible. He accomplished this in one sentence: “Taking fuels out of the geologic past, burning them in...

You do not currently have access to this content.