The story of man's search and struggle for this vital element, how trade routes were established, alliances built, empires secured and revolutions provoked - all for something that is everywhere in nature.
Mark Kurlansky is the author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, The Basque History of the World and the short story collection The White Man in the Tree. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its tale with epic grandeur. ("Los Angeles Times Book Review")