The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization

The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization Review

The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world--sand--and the crucial role it plays in our lives.

After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other--even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. From Egypt's pyramids to the Hubble telescope, from the world's tallest skyscraper to the sidewalk below it, from Chartres' stained-glass windows to your iPhone, sand shelters us, empowers us, engages us, and inspires us. It's the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives--and our future.

And, incredibly, we're running out of it.

The World in a Grain is the compelling true story of the hugely important and diminishing natural resource that grows more essential every day, and of the people who mine it, sell it, build with it--and sometimes, even kill for it. It's also a provocative examination of the serious human and environmental costs incurred by our dependence on sand, which has received little public attention. Not all sand is created equal: Some of the easiest sand to get to is the least useful. Award-winning journalist Vince Beiser delves deep into this world, taking readers on a journey across the globe, from the United States to remote corners of India, China, and Dubai to explain why sand is so crucial to modern life. Along the way, readers encounter world-changing innovators, island-building entrepreneurs, desert fighters, and murderous sand pirates. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening work, one that is both unexpected and involving, rippling with fascinating detail and filled with surprising characters.

Title:The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Dan

    Ah sand. Who would have thought it could be the subject of such an interesting book? The exploitation of sand as a resource has been going on for a very long time but about 75 years ago with the boom ...

  • Karen

    As if there isn't enough to worry about with the over population of the world...just wait until you delve through this one which is a real eye-opener on just what humans (the most invasive species of ...

  • Karen Fierman

    This is THE best nonfiction book I've read in a LONG time! I'm a person who's not very interested in things science/nature/technology, so it was rather a fluke that I even read it in the first place, ...

  • Claudia

    I never even heard of sand pirates much less imagined it was a thing.But apparently it is. Sand is one of the most utilized substances in the world and this book goes into some of the more extensive u...

  • DadGeekHuman

    Excellent book! Reads easily and is full of so much information more people need to know. Being in technology I really never did take a step back and realize how important and fundamental sand is to o...

  • Rani

    Vince Beiser is a great writer and a brilliant researcher. I never expected that learning about sand could be so interesting.The book delves into the history of sand, how our civilization has come to ...

  • Jasmine

    Wow, The World in a Grain is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in a long time. Excellent. From the very first page, I was hooked, and at 255 pages, it was just the right length -- the book d...

  • Agnieszka Suliga

    Captivating, so many unknown facts presented! As a material scientist I've always known that sand is a fascinating material, but this book is so much more, it's just such a treat from an engineering/s...

  • Tim Robinson

    An important and informative book, and just the kind of book I usually like. But there is something nasty about the story and something indefinably wrong with the writing style. I was disappointed wit...

  • ?Kimari?

    You might also enjoy:✱ The Disappearing Spoon✱ Concrete Planet✱ Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations✱ A Grain of Sand: Nature's Secret Wonder✱ The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places...