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Pyrite: A Natural History of Fool's Gold

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  5 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Most people have heard of pyrite, the brassy yellow mineral sometimes known as fool's gold. Pyrite behaves like stone and shines like metal, and its dual nature makes it a source of both metals and sulfur. Despite being the most common sulfide mineral on the earth's surface, pyrite's bright crystals have attracted the attention of many different cultures, and its nearly ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published April 1st 2015)
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Jamie Holcomb
Sep 22, 2016 Jamie Holcomb rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science, 2016
For a book billed as being for the "general reader," this is pretty intense. It's essentially a little bit of all the sciences and the history of science as seen through pyrite, which played a key role in the development of the modern chemical industry as well as Big Pharma (in both cases, as a source of sulfur). A reasonably well-educated and extremely patient reader will come away with some smattering of new scientific knowledge, some interesting anecdotes, and a new appreciation for "fool's ...more
May 19, 2016 Ted rated it liked it
Rickard loves pyrite, and his enthusiasm glisters throughout this book, especially in its early chapters. I'm not sure that he entirely convinced me of his stated thesis that pyrite “made the modern world,” but he certainly sold me on the book’s real (though less explicitly stated) argument that pyrite is pretty awesome and important.
I don't think many readers will dig (or even read) every page; some sections seem designed as an introduction to geology while others drill quite deep and require
Mar 04, 2015 John rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
Reviewed for Library Journal.
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