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    Description

    Humanity has used asphalt for thousands of years. This humble hydrocarbon may have glued the first arrowhead to the first shaft, but the changes wrought by this material are most dramatic since its emergence as pavement. Since the 1920s the automobile and blacktop have allowed unprecedented numbers of Americans to experience the beauty of their continent from the Adirondacks to the Rockies and beyond, to Big Sur and the Pacific Coast Highway. Blacktop roads, runways, and parking lots constitute the central arteries of our environment, creating a distinct “political territory” and a “political economy of velocity”.

    In Asphalt: A History, Kenneth O’Reilly provides a history of this everyday substance. By tracing the history of asphalt - in both its natural and processed forms - from ancient times to the present, O’Reilly sets out to identify its importance within various contexts of human society and culture. Although O’Reilly argues that asphalt creates our environment, he believes it also eventually threatens it. Looking at its role in economics, politics, and global warming, O’Reilly explores asphalt’s contribution to the history, and future, of America and the world.

    The book is published by University of Nebraska Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

    “A fascinating story that will reshape your sense of what binds the world together.” (Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?)

    “Read this book, step outside, and see our world anew.” (Paul Bogard, author of The Ground Beneath Us)

    “A fresh perspective on some of the central themes of modern global history.” (Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History)

    ©2021 Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (P)2021 Redwood Audiobooks

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