The Modern World in a Trillion Particles
by Jay Owens
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Pub Date 14 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2023
ABRAMS, Abrams Press
Combining history and science, a sweeping look at the smallest substance and the biggest challenges facing people and the planet
Four and a half billion years ago, planet Earth was formed from a vast spinning nebula of cosmic dust, the detritus left over from the birth of the sun. Within the next one hundred years, life on Earth would be profoundly changed by heat, drought, fire, and, again, dust. Dust is a legacy of twentieth-century progress and a toxic threat to life in the changing climate of the twenty-first. And yet dust is something we hardly ever consider—so small and mundane.
Jay Owens’s Dust corrects that oversight, sparking curiosity and wonder. This is a book on humanity and Earth and what we’ve done to it. Dust moves from the suburbs of a thirsty Los Angeles to Oklahoma and its Dust Bowl migrants, and the desert Southwest where nuclear testing created radioactive fallout that spread across America. Owens visits the dessiccated remains of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and beyond. Smart and beautifully written, Dust helps us understand our legacy and the challenges we face, building big ideas from the smallest particles.