The English longbow, made of rare yew wood, unmatched for accuracy, speed of fire, and deadliness, shifted Europe’s balance of power in the Middle Ages.
Schooners, those “able handsome ladies” of the sea, inaugurated a new era of global trade, carrying high-value cargoes of tea and spice to Europe and America with unmatched speed and reliability. The violin, individual examples of which have personalities and histories as brilliant as the performers who play them, brought Western music to the pinnacle of expressiveness.
These three iconic artifacts exemplify the inventive ways human ingenuity has employed wood – one of our most extraordinary natural substances – to change its culture and history. In this sweeping and beautifully-written history, award-winning author Marq de Villiers explores our relationship with wood, from ancient times to the present, from the forest to the workshop. Wood, he writes, has always been an essential companion to human development, and its most remarkable applications may still
Hardcover * 336 pages
PRAISE FOR MARQ DE VILLIERS WORK
Winner, Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource (1999)
“The author’s argument is exceptionally persuasive here because he does not scold or inveigh but lucidly and reasonably reports …” — The New Yorker (Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource)
“[A] lively, engaging treatise on wind and the weather it makes.” — The New York Times (Windswept: The Story of Wind and Weather)
“Water is emerging as one of the central issues of the new century. Marq de Villiers presents in this book a compelling and engrossing account of why this is so. Timely, authoritative, and eminently readable.”– Maurice Strong, former UN Undersecretary General & chairman of the Earth Council (Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource)
“A deft and fluid intermingling of travelogues with cultural and political history. Rarely is so ambitious a book so resoundingly successful.”– The Globe and Mail (Into Africa: A Journey Through the Ancient Empires)
“Marq de Villiers takes us on his subject with passion and compassion…. [He] writes about what he knows and loves and despises, without apology or polemic.” — The Washington Post (Into Africa: A Journey Through the Ancient Empires)
“A serious-minded, probing, knowledgeable report.” — Publishers Weekly (Down the Volga: A Journey Through Mother Russia in a Time of Troubles)
“A phenomenal story … with this broad perspective, the authors weave together the ongoing life of the desert that is forever changing.” — New Scientist (Sahara: The Life of the Great Desert)