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Throwing Fire: Projectile Technology Through History

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  27 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
In Throwing Fire, historian Alfred W. Crosby looks at hard, accurate throwing and the manipulation of fire as unique human capabilities. Humans began throwing rocks in prehistory and then progressed to javelins, atlatls, bows and arrows. We learned to make fire by friction and used it to cook, drive game, burn out rivals, and alter landscapes to our liking. Our exploitatio ...more
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published April 8th 2002 by Cambridge University Press
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Richard Reese
Mar 23, 2015 Richard Reese rated it it was amazing
Throwing Fire by Alfred W. Crosby is a history of the human use of projectiles that covers the whole spectrum, from stones to space ships. Throwing projectiles was a key skill for the survival of our species, it played an important role in shaping what we have become, but it is increasingly a threat to the survival of our species, and many others.

Long ago, in the good old days, our hominid ancestors were tree-dwellers, swinging from branch to branch, and dining on nuts, fruit, lizards, insects,
Michael K.
Nov 14, 2014 Michael K. rated it really liked it
If you’re expecting a straight military history of distance-weapons systems, this isn’t it. But if you’re into the anthropology and sociology of human control of the environment, this is a fascinating study of one of the key elements in what makes homo sapiens the success he is. The ability to throw a rock -- to effect change in the world at a distance, essentially -- is dependent on bipedalism, so that’s where Crosby, an expert in economic and environmental history, starts his story. But the ac ...more
Tim Ormsby
May 01, 2014 Tim Ormsby rated it really liked it
This is a great read and very interesting. The author has a very laconic style of writing which makes for a fun read. His take on the development of the ability to throw objects as one of the key evolutionary drivers of our species is fascinating and makes quite a bit of sense. You'll never think of even just throwing a ball in the same way again.
Peter Macinnis
Apr 07, 2008 Peter Macinnis rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the general reader
I found this to be a quite useful account, though I recall finding a couple of minor errors of fact, which seem not to have been marked in pencil -- but it was lively enough to keep me awake when I should have been sleeping between San Francisco and Sydney.
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