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Online Catalogue last updated 2nd of November 2021

Fire: Servant, Scourge, and Enigma by Hazel Rossotti

The ancients believed that fire remained the exclusive property of the gods until its theft by Prometheus, who pitied the mortals in their shivering struggles against darkness. This stolen gift from the gods provided humans with a double-edged sword by which they could conquer or be conquered. Fire: Servant, Scourge, and Enigma explores the diverse roles of fire in human affairs, from its cultural symbolism to its material exploitation, as well as its effects on the natural world.

Written in a lively, engaging style and enhanced by 118 compelling illustrations, this study probes all aspects of fire, from the techniques used to extinguish oil well blazes and the development of fire insurance to the prominence of fire imagery in religion and poetry. The text examines the necessity of fire to the basic conditions of civilized life (heating, lighting, cooking, crafts); its utility for spectacular forms of amusement, such as fireworks; its catalytic effects in explosives, internal combustion, and combat weapons; its significance in ancient forms of worship, and many other fascinating applications.

With its highly readable, nontechnical approach, this volume will engage readers of every interest and background; experts and professionals in any field of combustion will also find it a reliable source of information and entertainment.

Code No. 010110, 288 pages, ISBN 0486422615, $28.50

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