consideration of all things paper—its invention that
revolutionized human civilization; its thousand-fold uses (and
misuses), proliferation, and sweeping influence on society; its makers,
shapers, collectors, and pulpers.
Basbanes writes about paper, from its invention in China two thousand
years ago to its ideal means, recording the thoughts of Islamic
scholars and mathematicians that made the Middle East a center of
intellectual energy; from Europe, by way of Spain in the twelfth
century and Italy in the thirteenth at the time of the Renaissance, to
North America and the rest of the inhabited world.
We see paper’s crucial role in the unfolding of historical
events, political scandals, and sensational trials: how the American
Revolution which took shape with the Battle of Lexington and Concord,
began with the Stamp Act of 1765 . . . the Dreyfus Affair and the
forged memorandum known as “the bordereau” . . .
America’s entry into World War I with the Zimmerman Telegram . .
. the Alger Hiss spy case and Whittaker Chambers’s testimony
involving the notorious Pumpkin Papers . . . Daniel Ellsberg's release
of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and the scandal of Watergate.
The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History
by Nicholas A. Basbanes
> The Paper