If you like knowing the history of mundane items, as I do, then “Paper: Paging Through History” by Mark Kurlansky, is for you. I’ve never thought much about paper. I had a vague knowledge of paper being made from trees, but had no idea about the process. I had no knowledge of the history of paper, at all. I never knew that, for centuries, paper was made from rags. The most interesting part of the book for me, was when Kurlansky explained, by using the history of paper, how new technology almost always does not cause change, technology is the response to a changing world. Civilizations were changing and a need arose to record things quickly and easily. Paper evolved to meet that need. With all the talk about our moving toward a “paperless society”, Kurlansky opines that paper will be around for a long time to come. Some facets of the paper business will eventually go away, but other uses for paper will come along. For example, paper in the form of newsprint is in decline, but paper for packaging is increasing, mainly due to online shopping. I’ve read several of Mark Kurlansky’s books, and his method is to research the heck out of his subject, then present what he has learned in a clear and informative style. “Paper: Paging Through History” is a good read.
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