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Paging Through History


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From the 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.

For the past two millennia, the ability to produce paper in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce and art. It has created civilisations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilising of regimes. Now, on the cusp of "going paperless", Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology’s influence, affirming that paper is here to stay.


“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

“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

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

“... a kaleidoscopic history, an engaging gift book for trivia and history fans of all kinds.” — The Irish Times