The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world--sand--and the crucial role it plays in our lives.
Except for water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other--more than oil, more than natural gas. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, exists because of 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 Chihuly sculptures 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 future.
And 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 important every day, and some of the people who use it, sell it, recycle it, and destroy it. It's also a provocative examination of the serious human and environmental costs surrounding sand and the profound global significance, which has received little public attention. Award-winning journalist Vince Beiser delves deep into this world, explaining why sand is so crucial to modern life. Along the way, readers encounter sand pirates, become aware of child sand miners, and learn that not all sand is created equal: Some of the easiest sand to get to is the least useful. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening work, one that is both unexpected and involving, full of fascinating detail and populated by surprising people.