"Fire: A Brief History packs into one slender volume a sweeping tale of fire, and man's interactions with fire, from prehistory to the dawn of the twenty-first century. Pyne's perceptive words and tightly organized sentences allow him to suggest many thought-provoking ideas and to bring to his audiencea fascinating story of fire's role in shaping our world."
"An excellent overview of why the history of humanity cannot be told without the history of fire. . . . An excellent book and strongly recommended for all audiences, especially those with interests in anthropology, geography, history, natural sciences, or the humanities."
"Stephen J. Pyne writes about fire as if he were on fire, with searing, consuming heat and light. When he looks at fire he sees not biological catastrophe but social illumination and natural renewal."
"No one is better qualified to teach us about fire's history, fire's crucial role in shaping landscapes, than Stephen Pyne. His discussions of forestry, land-management elitism, pastoral incendiarism, nature reserves, the conservation movement and the ecology of disturbance are profoundly valuable."
-New York Times Book Review
"Pyne is the world's leading authority on the history of fire, and his erudition is phenomenal. He offers us a broad panorama of ecological and human history in a framework of geology and geography. He shows what a great impact fire has had in shaping landscapes, flora, and fauna all over the world, and how in the late Pleistocene humans have, as it were, joined forces with fire by learning to manipulate it."
"Pyne weaves together with rare interdisciplinary skill science, ecology, and the arts and humanities to write the history of human involvement with fire in all its manifestations and meanings."
"Vestal Fire taught me more about European and world history than any other single book I have ever read, abounding, as it does, in new information, new ideas, and new understandings of the past, thanks to Stephen J. Pyne's energetic and imaginative inquiry into the unique partnership between humans and fire."
-American Historical Review