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"Paper: Paging Through History" by Mark Kurlansky (Encore Presentation)

Aired on Friday, December 16th.

(Note: This show originally aired back in July.) On this installment of ST, 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." You can learn more about this book -- and can hear a free, on-demand audio-stream of our chat with its author -- at this link.

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