WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

Nicholas Basbanes: "On Paper"

Every day, the average American handles an estimated 30 different objects made out of paper. This begs the question, is the “paperless society” we hear so much about as imminent as some people suggest? In a new book, a noted bibliophile seeks to answer this question by exploring how and why paper has become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Since its invention 2,000 years ago in China, paper has revolutionized human civilization. We take a look at paper’s sweeping influence on society from Islamic scholarship to the American Revolutionary War and pulp mills that make billions of boxes of Kleenex.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from "On Paper" by Nicholas Basbanes. Copyright © 2013 by Nicholas Basbanes. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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