Paper: Paging Through History

Paper: Paging Through History

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From the New York Times best-selling author of Cod and Salt, a definitive history of paper and the astonishing ways it has shaped today’s world.

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.

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.

ISBN: 9780393239614

Published Date: May 31, 2016

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Language: English

Page Count: 416

Size: 9.61" l x 6.57" w x 1.33"