Sheet by Sheet, Through the Ages -- "Paper: Paging Through History" by Mark Kurlansky
On this installment of StudioTulsa, we welcome the bestselling author Mark Kurlansky back to our show. Kurlansky's latest book, which he discusses with us today, is "Paper: Paging Through History." It's a detailed and deeply researched volume that both explains and explores one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past 2,000 years or so, the ability to produce paper in ever more efficient ways has supported -- if not driven -- the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art. Paper itself -- or rather, ideas set down on paper -- have actually formed the foundation of civilizations, promoted revolutions, critiqued society's foundations, fostered art and culture worldwide, and restored law and order. But what does all this mean in an age when so many of us are drawn -- right or wrong -- to the notion of "going paperless"? Per Anthony Grafton in The New York Times Book Review: "Kurlanksy tells [the history of paper] vividly in this compact and well-illustrated book.... He has a sharp eye for curious details...[and he] offers a versatile introduction to this long and complicated history." And further, as was noted by Booklist: "[This book is] curious, vital, prolific, and witty.... Kurlansky's work makes brilliant use of paper as a key to civilization."