- 294 pages ; 24 cm
- Contents: The most important solid substance on Earth -- Part I. How sand built the twentieth century's industrialized world. The skeleton of cities ; Paved with good intentions ; The thing that lets us see everything -- Part II. How sand is building the twenty-first century's globalized, digitized world. High tech, high purity ; Fracking facilitator ; Miami Beach-less ; Man-made lands ; Desert war ; Concrete conquers the city ; Beyond sand.Includes bibliographical references and index.Summary: The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world -- sand -- and the crucial role it plays in our lives. After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other -- even more 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 the smartphone in your hand, sand shelters us, connects us, and inspires us. It's the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives -- and our future. And, 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 more 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 little-noticed, but deadly serious human and environmental costs incurred by our dependence on sand.