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Summary

From Paleolithic flax to 3D knitting, explore the global history of textiles and the world they weave together in this enthralling and educational guide.

The story of humanity is the story of textiles - as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture.

In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.

Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

©2021 Virginia I. Postrel (P)2021 OrangeSky Audio

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Profile Image for ELISE
  • ELISE
  • 12-09-21

FANTASTIC HISTORY BOOK

LOVED IT!!!!!! GREAT NARRATOR!!! I WILL NEVER TAKE FABRIC FOR GRANTED. AND IT ALL STARTED WITH A PIECE OF STRING.

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  • Jimbo
  • 11-11-21

I can’t believe I listened to an entire book about textiles.

I’m having a hard time thinking of a subject I could be less interested in than textiles. Or fabric. Or even clothes.
But I was fascinated by the entire book. It seems obvious to me now, after having completed it, that fabrics and humans’ desire for fabrics is at the heart of so much of our history. And the author not only makes a great case for why it’s important ti understand it but makes it so …interesting to learn about.

Most books that cover subject sweeping through centuries or millenniums get lost along the way. Either too bogged down in the weeds or give in to lazy generalizations. Not this book though. It’s thoroughly researched and engaging.
If you are interested in history at all, any history, then get this book.

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  • Amazing
  • 26-08-21

How textiles helped me to grow up.

i was intrigued by the title but upon reading the unfolding narrative I grew beleaguered with details and lack of pictures. Then went to Amazon/Kindle for copy with some illustrations. Audible version still was useful. Sadly a lack of colorful illustrations disqualified the hard copy from covering my coffee table.
This book reminds me of fabrics role in my youth. Dressing up for school.Decking out for the Easter Parade. Keeping up with the latest fashion crazes with peers. The trips to small and big stores for ties, suits and developing personal tastes. Also important were the curtains I helped my mother stretch and hang and later peered through. The book reminded me of my deceased and fashionable sister who sewed her clothes, loaded her closets with fashion statements and providing many squabbles with her sisters borrowing from her stash. That same sister gifted me with fashionable men's clothing.
But eventually I realized how quickly fashion changed and squandered money, often winding up in the "rag bin" or thrift stores.
Thus escaping the hunger for fashion and developed passions for investing hard earned money, education, literacy, art hobbies antiques and beautiful gardens and wife.
So I must credit one fashionable sister for artistic tastes but give myself credit for the once fashionable that in time "grew" in value.
Thus my broad interests in the technical aspects of fabrics is well rewarded by perusing both audible and printed book versions.
Thank the author for reminding me how fashion helped weaved my life.

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  • BARBARA SHAW GIFTS
  • 25-08-21

Fascinating history of civilization through textiles

I loved the book. An extremely fascinating look at the history of civilization through textiles. A very well researched study of all aspects of textiles and the impact it has had on economics, art. Science, chemistry sociology in short everything.
The book really represented new a d very interesting knowledge.
I am involved in textiles so it is a subject close to my heart. But I’m sure the book would be of interest to everyone.

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  • Deborah A. Landry
  • 25-08-21

Wonderfully enlightening

This book provides a riveting history of textiles that one would never have imagined.
The thread of its narrative gives insights into mankind. It’s obvious the author was inspired by the subject matter

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  • NotExMilitary
  • 22-08-21

If you see…

I’ve seen clothes and adore quality fabrics. This is the history of a technology overlooked. One that built trade and civilizations as described in this fascinating audio book. Will listen to it again.

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  • B
  • 21-08-21

Best Book of the Year

I had no interest in textiles prior to reading this book, but it completely changed the way I think about history and, surprisingly, made me excited about the future of fabrics.