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Paper: A World History Paperback – 23 Jun 2017

3.9 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (23 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393353702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393353709
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Kurlansky's book is published with a deckle edge finish, a process that replaces the regular clean-cut trim of a page with a jagged, pulped roughness... It is a beautiful thing to hold and feel, and it presents a fine argument for the retention of paper as an aesthetically lusty object, let alone one that's thrived through centuries of change."

--The Observer

"Paper is not what you would call a learned book, but one learns an awful lot from it, all packaged in Kurlansky's whipsmart prose."

--The Times

"...a kaleidoscopic history, an engaging gift book for trivia and history fans of all kinds."

--The Irish Times

"Kurlansky... explains how something so simple came to play such a vital part in history."

--The Sunday Business Post

"Kurlansky expertly argues a case for its [paper's] continuing survival."

--The Scotsman

"The history of paper is a history of cultural transmission, and Kurlansky tells it vividly in this compact, well-illustrated book."

--The New York Times

From the Inside Flap

"Kurlansky expertly argues a case for its [paper's] continuing survival." The Scotsman

Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art; it has formed the foundation of civilizations, promoting revolutions and restoring stability. One has only to look at history's greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Mao zhuxi yulu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong)-which doesn't include editions in 37 foreign languages and in braille-to appreciate the range and influence of a single publication, in paper. Or take the fact that one of history's most revered artists, Leonardo da Vinci, left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. And though the colonies were at the time calling for a boycott of all British goods, the one exception they made speaks to the essentiality of the material; they penned the Declaration of Independence on British paper. Now, amid discussion of "going paperless"-and as speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society grows rampant-we've come to a world-historic juncture. Thousands of years ago, Socrates and Plato warned that written language would be the end of "true knowledge," replacing the need to exercise memory and think through complex questions. Similar arguments were made about the switch from handwritten to printed books, and today about the role of computer technology. By tracing paper's evolution from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the contributions made in Asia and the Middle East, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. Paper will be the commodity history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.

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9 August 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
7 September 2016
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
11 people found this helpful
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19 July 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
4 people found this helpful
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7 January 2017
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
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10 July 2016
Format: Hardcover
4 people found this helpful
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