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A magnificent new history weaving together the story of a unique material that has fascinated the world for millennia.

Silk prized for its lightness luminosity and beauty is also one of the strongest biological materials ever known. It was used to make the first bulletproof vest more than a century ago yet science has barely now begun to tap its potential. While the technologies it has inspired - from sutures to pharmaceuticals replacement body parts to holograms - continue to be developed in laboratories around the world silk is now emerging as a desperately needed sustainable alternative to the plastics choking our planet.

Aarathi Prasad's Silk is a cultural and biological history from the origins and ancient routes of silk to the story of the biologists who learned the secrets of silk-producing animals from the moths of China Indonesia and India to the spiders of South America and Madagascar and the molluscs of the Mediterranean. Because there is more than one kind of silk there is more than one story of silk.

Rich in the passionate connections made by women and men of science and the diversity of the animal world this book is an intoxicating mix of biography intellectual history and science writing that brings to life the human obsession with silk.


'Who would have thought that a book about silkworms and spiders could be so fascinating? Aarathi Prasad criss-crosses centuries and cultures to tell of the intrepid explorers botanists scientists and entrepreneurs who were determined to unravel the secrets of silk production. Her book captures their persistence and her own in the search for the little-told but revelatory stories of human curiosity and ingenuity.'

Clare Hunter author of Threads of Life

Prasad Aarathi
Paper Back

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