Pyrospective Book Review – The Practical Pyromaniac

The Practical Pyromaniac: Build Fire Tornadoes, One-Candlepower Engines, Great Balls of Fire, and More Incendiary Devices

By: William Gurstelle 2011 Paperback & Kindle


When I started this site I also began searching for books to read and review.  In my search, I came across The Practical Pyromaniac.  From what I had read I thought it would be a book full of experments, best for middle school age kids.  I was wrong.  Instead it is an interesting book, with some fun experiments, lots of history and the fundementals of fire science.  Each chapter takes you step by step through a process of discovery much like the fore fathers of modren science.

With the book are a number of links in each chapter.  Some of the links are to videos of the aurthor on youtube and others are lists of supplies and where to get them.  The videos are related to each chapter but expand to other experments not included in the book itself.  The videos can tend to be a bit slow in parts but still fun and educational.

This book should be read by any pyro minded individual as an introduction to the fundmentals of fire science.  You might be surprised what you learn from this book.  Over all this is a good book, with lots of great information.  If you are a thrill seeking pyro this may not be the book for you.  Most of the experiments are rather small and tame.  Overall this book seemed more like a high school text book then anything else.

Pyrospective Video Review – Reign of Fire

Reign Of Fire

Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Rob Bowman (Director)Rated: PG-13


OK so any movie with a name like Reign of Fire has got to have good pyro.  Its just a given, Reign of Fire = Lots of mind blowing PYRO, right?  Well I had seen Reign of Fire when it came out in July of 2002.  I knew from what I had seen that I had to include a review here.   To make sure I gave it a fair review I wanted to watch it again, and I was not disappointed.  It was even better then I had remembered, at least from a pyro point of view.  The story is good, however the ending is more then a little anticlimactic.

The real gem of Reign of Fire though is in the special features.  Two featureettes give some great details on specific effects, safety, and pyrotechnics in film making. One of the effects they detail is the dripping fire dragon drool. They even go so far as to add subtitles for the ingredients!  Hmm going to have to try and recreate this effect sometime soon!  All considered this a great reference video for any pyro working in film. I would highly recommend adding it to your collection.

Hit the link to purchase a copy of Reign Of Fire from