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A World on Fire

A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen

Joe Jackson - Author

Paperback | $16.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780143038832 | 432 pages | 27 Feb 2007 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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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.

A World On Fire Prologue: 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

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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