6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A densely packed journey into all things paper,
This review is from: On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)We acknowledge the existence of so many things in our world with an obvious familiarity and even a touch of hauteur, yet fail to understand their fundamental importance or sometimes haven't the faintest idea of what it actually is, how its made or how it became an integral part of our existence. Paper ranks high on that list. Mr.Bisbane's book is a thoroughly researched, fascinating journey into the invention, history/migration, and development of all things paper. Far from just a casual compiler of facts, he was involved in hands on journeys to the earliest locals in China where the process first began and where it is still practiced by traditional craftsmen. From its accepted origins pegged at A.D. 105, to its basic components of clean water, cellulose fiber and a screen mold, and its history of use, beyond simply as a medium to solidify and distribute ideas when imprinted, as its use in Japanese building for walls, window and door panels, to forming the skin of the 9000 Fu-Go weapons; 32 foot diameter balloon bombs the Japanese wafted into the jet stream to be blown 5000 miles to land on American soil during WW II. There is nothing left unexplored and satisfyingly detailed in the 2000 year history that popular civilization owes much of its rise and distribution to. Paper is currently viewed as something to be pared into submission in a goal of paperless offices due to the crushing volume of contemporary information that needs to be recorded, processed and understood in real time. But its complete demise is unlikely and practically and esthetically undesirable. A highly recommended book for the sheer joy of understanding a miraculous, beautiful and critical material that surrounds us but usually slips below a focus of attention and appreciation.