The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair


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More Information from the Publisher of The Golden Thread:

Sunday Times (UK) Book of the Year
Shortlisted • Society of Authors’ Somerset Maugham Award
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

The best-selling author of The Secret Lives of Color returns with this rollicking narrative of the 30,000-year history of fabric, briskly told through thirteen charismatic episodes.

From colorful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution, The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity. Design journalist Kassia St. Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that would redefine human civilization. Fabric allowed mankind to achieve extraordinary things (traverse the oceans and shatter athletic records) and survive in unlikely places (outer space and the South Pole). She peoples her story with a motley cast of characters. It includes Xiling, the ancient Chinese empress credited with inventing silk, to Richard the Lionhearted and Bing Crosby. She offers insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking. And counters the enduring, often demeaning, association of textiles as “merely women’s work”. The Golden Thread offers an alternative guide to our past, present, and future.

Hardcover, 368 pages.


Reviews for The Golden Thread:

An eclectic take on how humans have developed fabric…Each subject offers a fascinating look at the challenges that fabrics aim to overcome, as well as the often-devastating environmental and human effects involved in their production… The Golden Thread spins a rich social history of textiles that also reflects the darker side of technology and the development of capitalism.

Rachel Newcomb, Washington Post

A fascinating look at one of those everyday things many of us take for granted: fabric. Instead of tackling fabric’s entire history, St. Clair…. skips across centuries and around the world, sharing accessible and telling stories…. Whether sharing the silk-making secrets of Chinese empresses or exposing the benefits of performance-enhancing swimsuits, this extensively documented and always entertaining overview works equally well for reading cover to cover or dipping into for snippets.

Kathleen McBroom, Booklist

Additional information

Weight 500 g
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 2 in


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