A World On Fire

A World On Fire : A Heretic, An Aristocrat and the Race to Discover Oxygen

3.7 (64 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Description

Like Charles Seife's Zero and Dava Sobel's Longitude, this passionate intellectual history is the story of the intersection of science and the human, in this case the rivals who discovered oxygen in the late 1700s. That breakthrough changed the world as radically as those of Newton and Darwin but was at first eclipsed by revolution and reaction. In chronicling the triumph and ruin of the English freethinker Joseph Priestley and the French nobleman Antoine Lavoisier--the former exiled, the latter executed on the guillotine--A World on Fire illustrates the perilous place of science in an age of unreason.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 40mm | 419.99g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • 0143038834
  • 9780143038832
  • 1,738,313

About Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson is the author of four works of nonfiction and a novel. He was an investigative reporter for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot for 12 years, covering criminal justice and the state's death row. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He can be reached through his website, joejacksonbooks.com.
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Review quote

This tale of eminent scientists victimized by political ideology is told with passion and a splendid attention to vivid detail. (Paul Johnson, author of "Modern Times") An exhilarating narrative, sweeping us through great discoveries and international rivalries, yet strengthened by meticulous research and analysis. (Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men) This tale of eminent scientists victimized by political ideology is told with passion and a splendid attention to vivid detail. (Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times)
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Table of contents

A World On FirePrologue: God in the Air
Part I: Problem
1. The Cloth-Dresser's Son
2. The Sums and Receipts of Parallel Worlds
3. The Gas in the Beer
4. The Prodigy
5. The Goodness of Air
6. The Problem of Burning
Part II: Solution
7. The Sentimental Journey
8. The Mouse in the Jar
9. The Twelve Days
10. The Language of War
11. "King Mob"
12. The World Out of Joint
13. The New World
Epilogue: The Burning World
Dramatis Personae
Chronology
Glossary of Chemical, Historical, and Scientific Terms
Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index
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Rating details

64 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 22% (14)
4 41% (26)
3 27% (17)
2 8% (5)
1 3% (2)
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