A World History

by Aarathi Prasad

On Sale: 04/30/2024


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A World History

by Aarathi Prasad

On Sale: 04/30/2024


About the Book

In a gorgeous history that spans continents and millennia, Aarathi Prasad weaves together the complex story of the queen of fabrics. Through the scientists who have studied silk, and the biology of the animals from which it has been drawn, Prasad explores the global, natural, and cultural history (and future) of a unique material that has fascinated the world for thousands of years.

Silk—prized for its lightness, luminosity, and beauty—is also one of the strongest biological materials ever known. More than a century ago, it was used to make the first bulletproof vest, and yet science has barely even begun to tap its potential. As the technologies it has inspired—from sutures to pharmaceuticals, replacement body parts to holograms—continue to be developed in laboratories around the world, they are now also beginning to offer a desperately needed, sustainable alternative to the plastics choking our planet.

Aarathi Prasad’s Silk is a cultural and biological history from the origins and ancient routes of silk to the biologists who learned the secrets of silk-producing animals, manipulating the habitats and physiologies of moths, spiders, and mollusks. Because there is more than one silk, there is more than one story of silk. More than one road, more than one people who discovered it, and wove its threads.

From the moths of China, Indonesia, and India to the spiders of South America and Madagascar and the silk-producing mollusks of the Mediterranean, Silk is a book rich in the passionate connections made by people of science to the diversity of the animal world. It is an intoxicating read, a mix of biography and science, that not only brings to life the vast, winding history of silk, but also looks to its future as a resource with incredible, untapped potential.

Critical Praise

"Both scientific and poetic, this remarkable book shows how the great tides of history are shaped through human encounters with the intricate variety of the non-human world." — David Wengrow, co-author of the international bestseller The Dawn of Everything

”Who would have thought that a book about silkworms and spiders could be so fascinating? Aarathi Prasad criss-crosses centuries and cultures to tell of the intrepid explorers, botanists, scientists, and entrepreneurs who were determined to unravel the secrets of silk production. Her book captures their persistence and her own in the search for the little-told but revelatory stories of human curiosity and ingenuity.” — Clare Hunter, author of Threads of Life

“Aarathi Prasad has woven a wonder of a narrative. Like the transformation of caterpillar to moth that she explores so beautifully, this is a network of threads that spin around the world and tell a story of science, of history, of humanity itself.” — Kate Strasdin, author of The Dress Diary of Mrs. Anne Sykes

"An incredible read. Deeply researched, dazzling. Prasad weaves a magical thread through history, culture, science and nature, unfolding the long and deep relationship we have with the natural history of silk and the creatures that make it." — Seirian Sumner, author of Endless Forms

"Prasad weaves her strands of science, history, and culture to create a rich narrative tapestry that's as sumptuous as the material itself. Full of fascinating detail." — Gaia Vince, author of Nomad Century


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063160255
  • ISBN 10: 0063160250
  • Imprint: William Morrow
  • On Sale: 04/30/2024
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price:40.50 CAD
  • BISAC1 : SCIENCE / History
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Social History
  • BISAC3 : SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / Invertebrates

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