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The Golden Thread

How Fabric Changed History
Narrated by: Helen Johns
Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Summary

From the mummies of Ancient Egypt, via the silken dragon robes of Imperial China and the woollen sails of Viking longboats to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution (and sparked more than one war), arriving finally at the lab-blended fibres that have allowed astronauts to moonwalk - fabrics, man-made and natural, have changed and shaped the world we live in.

In 12 fascinating chapters, Kassia St Clair lays out an alternative history of civilisation and human creativity. Wittily written and compellingly argued, this book will change the way you see the world.

©2018 Kassia St Clair (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Wonderful!

Fantastic journey through the history of fabrics through thousands of years.
Such amazing detail and information, I will be referring back to it numerous times in the future no doubt.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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In depth history of Textiles

A very full coverage of all aspects of textiles, including their sources and usage. Most interesting and inspiring. Some facts seem to be added a touch glibly, but overall there’s no reason to doubt the authenticity of the information.
The voice of the narrator sounds to me as if it were on the point of breaking up all the time, which I found irritating at first, but managed to ignore after a while.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating history

This is a wide ranging history of textiles and threads travelling from Egypt to China, Yorkshire to the cotton plantations of the southern USA, Antarctica to Everest, Outer space to Olympic swimming pools and much more. It is also the secret history of women and their unsung roles in the economics of empires. It is really very good.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting subject but...

An interesting subject that has been well researched but I couldn’t get on with the narrators voice.

1 person found this helpful

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Awful narration

The narrator’s voice is extremely grating -the quavering mess of a unconfident old woman with a bad cold.

Moreover she frequently mispronounces words and names, speaking with a huge linguistic insensitivity especially towards Chinese names and places.

The text is slow and dull - though could’ve been saved by a voice with power and confidence.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

I haven't listened to such a riveting read in a long while. Engaging, well informed and erudite, it kept me listening from start to finish. Well worth it.

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Well written and engaging

Fabric explained using historical context - if you enjoy historical non-fiction, I would highly recommend this book. With sections broken down into different materials (cotton, linen etc), the author takes us through a timeline starting in the neolithic and ending in the future of fabric.

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  • AM Starks
  • 24-04-19

The Golden Thread

Helen Johns captivated me with her yarns about the history of fabric from woolen Viking sails to attempts
to weave spider silk. The stories of St. Clair’s book keep the reader engaged while revealing historical fact. I can’t think of a better way to learn about the importance of textiles to world history. Enjoy!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas B.
  • 05-06-19

It is exactly it's title. Killer history of fabric

it was great. a bit dry, but I really loved it overall. definitely true to the title

favorite mispronunciation brand Nike pronounced like the name Mike. took me a second to realize what they were even talking about

2 people found this helpful