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The Complete Book of Fire: Building Campfires for Warmth, Light, Cooking, and Survival Paperback – 10 Aug 2005

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About the Author

Buck Tilton began camping with his Dad and as a Boy Scout in the southeastern U.S. He is the co-founder of the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS and has been awarded the Paul Petzoldt Award for Excellence in Wilderness Education. An award-winning author, he has more than fifteen books currently in print. He is a resident of Lander, Wyoming.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Sonck on 23 May 2011
Format: Paperback
The book contains everything you need to know about making fire.
From history, chemistry, making of fire, different kinds of wood to survival and burns.
A very complete book. The documentation is rudimentary but to the point.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. A. Roome on 9 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been rated quite lowly by a number of people, and while I did find the book to be lacking in areas I didn't find it as bad as other reviewers found it. I do agree with two other reviewers that this book is rather broad and doesn't cover fire making techniques during poor weather conditions - something that is often left out of survival books and such - evidence that much of the information is copied and pasted from one book to another - but this seems to be a trend with survival books in general. It is, however, a useful source of information about fire in general.

In summary: A little too generalised, but worth a read for anyone interested in fire.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Tampsett on 10 May 2011
Format: Paperback
this is a good book covering just the one topic fire. though from an american stand point it is concise and an informative read. i have only given it four stars due to the fact i reside in the UK.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Coverage too broad and shallow 15 Nov. 2007
By TP Coltrain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is short and covers a lot of topics: The history of fire, its chemistry, how to make a fire, specifics about wood, ethics of building fires, fire for survival purposes, cooking by fire, information about wild fires and finally information about burns.

The chapter about building a fire (26 pages) is pretty well done. A lot of it is common-sense, but there are a few ideas and illustrations to deepen ones understanding of how to make the fire you intend.

Aside from that chapter and the -- in my opinion -- worthless 16 page chapter about cooking over fire, every other chapter is 10 pages or less. This is COUNTING each chapter's header page which consists of the title and a quote relating to the concept. Add in illustrations and the not-particularly-small print size and you blow through 4 chapters before you realize you've learned nothing you didn't already know.

I do find it enlightening to see the ethics of fire covered in this book, but it felt overly repetitious and preachy by the time you get half-way through with the book. Rest assured -- you still get preached to all the way till the end.

If you are interested in fire enough to want to read a book about it, you probably know 90% of what is in this book. I don't want to belabor the negatives, but know this: I have never felt the need to review a book until this one.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
not overly impressed 31 Dec. 2008
By ED MIRANDA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was hoping for a book that would deal with building fires in various adverse conditions.

What do you do if you've been stuck in a downpour and this is the 3rd day of it? How do you build a fire in various snow and ice conditions? How do you build a fire if you are hurt and only have the use of one arm or if frostbite has set in?

The primitive fire starting chapter was nice but really didn't show me anything I wasn't already aware of.
There was a great table of woods and how well they burn but no information on identifying the trees themselves. (Pictures / descriptions would have been really helpful here...)

Over all I found the book wanting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dissapointed 16 Dec. 2012
By W. Tapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know there seems like there would be little to learn about fire or fire making but I really expected more from this book. The topics were short and not detailed. Probably the best part of the book was the discussion on how to make tools to help make fire. The most disappointing were the parts about how to manage fire in different climates (rain, snow, etc.) and the science behind the fire. This might be ok for someone who just wants a cursory look at different techniques but I really expected this to be so much more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not what I expected 7 Aug. 2013
By Showknow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with other reviews. It's strange how a book about building fires can make you feel guilty about building fires. The fire ethics heavily sprinkled throughout this book seem out of place and really don't fit the title. I would rename the book to reflect the strong eco-friendly tone. Perhaps, "The Eco-Friendly Book of Fire: ..."

If you're looking for a detailed book to teach you how to make fire or build and maintain campfires, I'd keep looking. In fact, YouTube has some excellent videos on making fire (bow drills, etc.).

All that said, I do respect the author for spelling out his views on responsible fire management. He clearly has a lot of experience with seeing the bad side of campfires.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
very complete 25 Sept. 2012
By lolo_static - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to equilibrate with the two other reviews who are hard in my point of view, and not fair. For example, the customer who writes that he didn't learn nothing about primitive way of starting a fire, doesn't matter : if he's an expert, does this mean that a book with all his knowledge is pointless ? The book is cheap, not so big, but straight to the point. I've learned a lot and enjoyed it...
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