Don't Try This Book at Home

July 4th always comes with its share of safety hazards: setting off fireworks, neglecting the oven, maneuvering the grill. But to make things a little more dangerous on Independence Day, pick up a copy of William Gurstelles’s Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously. He’s the author of the 2001 book on homegrown bombs, Backyard Ballistics, and his new work is no different. He offers painstaking directions on how to make your very own propane flamethrower. The book contains, of course, pages of disclaimers, some of which are very amusing, like “Do not eat any chemicals no matter how tasty they smell.” Gurstelle writes that “Part of the appeal of living dangerously may be that there is a real possibility of death. However, that possibility should be extremely, extremely remote.”