Material World (Hardback)Ed Conway (author)
Through six transformative substances, Conway traces the history of humanity and also its potential future in this dazzling study.
Shortlisted for the Financial Times Book of the Year 2023
Sand, salt, iron, copper, oil and lithium. They built our world, and they will transform our future.
These are the six most crucial substances in human history. They took us from the Dark Ages to the present day. They power our computers and phones, build our homes and offices, and create life-saving medicines. But most of us take them completely for granted.
In Material World, Ed Conway travels the globe - from the sweltering depths of the deepest mine in Europe, to spotless silicon chip factories in Taiwan, to the eerie green pools where lithium originates - to uncover a secret world we rarely see. Revealing the true marvel of these substances, he follows the mind-boggling journeys, miraculous processes and little-known companies that turn the raw materials we all need into products of astonishing complexity.
As we wrestle with climate change, energy crises and the threat of new global conflict, Conway shows why these substances matter more than ever before, and how the hidden battle to control them will shape our geopolitical future. This is the story of civilisation - our ambitions and glory, innovations and appetites - from a new perspective: literally from the ground up.
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 700 g
Dimensions: 238 x 164 x 50 mm
'A compelling narrative of the human story' - Tim Marshall
'Lively, rich and exciting... full of surprises. Underlines that to understand global geopolitics, you need to understand natural resources and geology' - Peter Frankopan
'Expansive, erudite, and edifying. A stunning insight into the materials that shaped our history and built the modern world' - Prof. Lewis Dartnell
'Fascinating, fun, and vitally important. A wonderful exploration of the world we've built yet somehow manage to ignore' - Tim Harford
'A stunning book that will transform the way you think about economics and life. Brilliantly written' - Matthew Syed
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