As if there isn t enough to worry about with the over population of the worldjust wait until you delve through this one which is a real eye opener on just what humans the most invasive species of all are doing to our planet Sand is the 3rd most used natural resource after water and air and is in everything you have around you from your phone, your shampoo, toothpaste, the foundation of your house, the road you drive on and the paint on your walls to name just a few and the world is using it up at an alarming rate I know you are thinking we would never use up all the sand in the worldwell, think again because desert sands can t be used read the book to learn why so that leaves ocean floors and river beds that are being decimated and all the wildlife and coral reefs right along with them Dubai is building palm shaped islands off its coast made out of sand and China is the world s largest asphalt consumer There is a highway linking Beijing with Hong Kong that is a full 50 lanes wide This book is a well written horror storyexcept it s non fiction and if the world doesn t wake up to what humans are doing to itjust picture that hour glass filled with sand.when it s empty. 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 Stuff Matters Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man Made World Caesar s Last Breath Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us Where the Water Goes Life and Death Along the Colorado River The Secret Knowledge of Water The Human Age The World Shaped By Us The Works Anatomy of a City Salt Sugar A Bittersweet History 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, let alone LOVED it For starters, it s just the right length 255 pages with the perfect amount of information, but not TMI The information facts data stats are ALL fascinating, gripping, and mind boggling I was sitting on the proverbial edge of my seat reading this book, as if it was a thriller Sand SAND A subject of consummate importance and deep source of delight YES, seriously There was never a dull moment to the very last grain The WRITING flows, and there s even much good humor sprinkled throughout I ve gained a new and surprising understanding of the astonishing world of sand If I sound hyberbolical in this review, so be it, because this book cannot be praised enough And trust me when I say that you really, really NEED to KNOW about sand OMG Who knew Not I. Sand after Air and Water is the item consumed by civilization in the greatest quantities Its uses include concrete, glass, silicon chips, island building, water purification, etc It is ubiquitous Fortunes have been made extracting this resource, however, this is a mining industry and causes environmental harm and the profits to be made can attract criminals and cause geopolitical conflict Like most other commodities Also surprisingly it is a limited resource that could see shortfalls in the coming decades The author goes for a long and extensive tour of myriad uses and problems that sand is prone Good stuff. This really blew my mind on the importance of sand It seems like one of those bottomless resources we have whole deserts of sands, for crying out loud But not only is it not bottomless, we don t even really use desert sand not the right shape of grain The majority of sand we use is for concrete buildings and roads , with some fun forays into the high tech industry and glass and beaches and land building.One thing that threw me off a little bit when I started this book was that I thought it d be like Kurlansky s book on salt and we d be getting a history of sand through the ages Instead, it s a bit focused on the modern age in the last 100 150 years It didn t suffer from it, though, as the subtitle of how it transformed civilization maybe actually be understating it Beiser painted quite the picture early on, for example, with really showing the state of our roads before the modern rise of concrete There s also an important but sad element as the author goes into the damage that sand mining is doing to our environment The illegal sand mining he discovered in India was quite depressing I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in such a valuable commodity and even if you re not, you should read it anyway so that I m not the only one of my friends going around spouting sand facts. 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 extensive uses humanity has for sand Construction concrete for buildings bridges dams homes roads since sand is not only in concrete but asphalt.Glass windows for buildings and vehicles bottles screens for laptops, televisions and cellphones fiberglass kayaks, fiber optic cables camera lenses.Highly specific sand grains for silicon computer chips.More specific type for adding to the chemicals shot into a oil well bore for oil frakking.Tourism imagine some prime vacation spots without their beaches Hawaii, Miami, the Riviera, Tahiti, and The pristine sand often has to be replaced after storms with sand imported from elsewhere.Man made land not only the Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai, but in the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China and , dumping tons of sand to increase shorelines and acreage.And then there are some of the unusual uses microdermabrasion or sandblasting your skin sand sculpture contests.And then there is the other side China and Mongolia trying to plant thousands of trees in order to block the creeping sand and create agricultural land.Dredging for sea sand is inflicting massive damage to marine environments coral reefs and fish habitats.The demand for this resource is increasing daily while access to the material is becoming limited Earth can not keep up with the demands Governments try to restrict plundering of their resources but criminal elements are concerned with the money they can earn Bribes and graft are common and even brutal assaults, threats and even murder of protesters.This is about a little known aspect of today s civilization and this book provides an eye opening and fascinating look into the sand surrounding us. I haven t read any reviews but I suspect most will boil down to the same point Who knew sand was so prominent in our lives Having read and enjoyed the book I m now seeing sand everywhere I look The book grew out of a magazine article and it s hard not to notice It mostly works as a unified piece but some stories and histories were slightly long and tangential for my taste At his best the author guides the reader through the characteristics and uses of sand by way of science, stories and statistics He s at his best for the majority of the book I also liked that the author spoke with a voice as someone who inhabits this world with the rest of us, he raises daunting environmental issues but recognizes the reality that it s not easy to give up the luxuries of economic prosperity.The World in a Grain is strong popular science that applies to our everyday lives than you might think, and that s part of the fun I would recommend it to most readers. The Gripping Story Of The Most Important Overlooked Commodity In The World Sand And The Crucial Role It Plays In Our LivesAfter Water And Air, Sand Is The Natural Resource That We Consume Than Any Other Even 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 FutureAnd, 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 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 A fascinating and horrifying book about a subject I never really though much about before It turns out that not all sand is created equally, and the good stuff is being consumed at a crazy pace Sand is big business and as it gets harder to legally procure people are being killed over this stuff It s around us everywhere in roads, buildings and glass It s being dredged from the ocean floor to make islands or extend existing ones and in the process destroying the local underwater habitats More than twice as much concrete is used as a building material than wood and metal combined Who knew Add sand to the list of limited resources that we need to concern ourselves about for future generations. Maybe I shouldn t have read this, because there goes my last bit of optimism D This is the scariest book I have ever read It s not like with fossil fuels where I know we have alternatives that we can make work Also, Rail Baltic, coming to a sandmine near you The book itself has lots of examples and deep dives into the different areas of sand use It was pretty easy and gripping I now have sand anxiety.
Vince Beiser is an award winning journalist based in Los Angeles His first book, The World in a Grain The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization was released on August 7, 2018 Wired magazine editor in chief Nick Thompson calls it a riveting, wonderfully written investigation Senator John McCain recently called Vince s coverage of the issue a must read Vince has reported from ov
- 294 pages
- The World in a Grain
- Vince Beiser
- 10 May 2019 Vince Beiser