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THE PRACTICAL PYROMANIAC by William Gurstelle

THE PRACTICAL PYROMANIAC

Build Fire Tornadoes, One-Candlepower Engines, Great Balls of Fire, and More Incendiary Devices

By William Gurstelle

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-56976-710-8
Publisher: Chicago Review

Learn to play and build with fire—and not get burned.

Gurstelle (Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously, 2009, etc.), pyrotechnic aficionado and professional engineer, releases a powderkeg in this book, which blends history and science education with fire-inspired DIY projects. Beginning with a well-researched examination of flames and heat, he provides simple exercises for readers unseasoned in the art of fire, offering tips that can be applied both practically and recreationally. Safety is of the utmost importance to Gurstelle, who enumerates a myriad of thorough and clear stated warnings and precautions. The author overlooks nothing (there’s even a guide to the proper use of fire extinguishers), but a section on burns and their treatment would make a welcome addition. Readers are urged to proceed with caution and begin by designing a simple flame tube—candles that produce long-sustained musical tones—before moving on to more complicated projects like assembling a propane-fueled flamethrower. Instructions are woven through with pivotal moments in the history of fire, from its discovery by cavemen to the scientific stylings of 19th-century chemist and physicist Michael Faraday. Gurstelle's simply stated directions and easy-to-follow illustrations usher readers through more than 15 incendiary projects.

The author renders otherwise dense and complicated scientific explanations imminently understandable.