History Writ Small

Sure, it's uplifting to read about John Adams and the Founding Fathers, or those daring exploits of the Greatest Generation during World War II. But they also serve who only twist the screws--as you'll learn from One Good Turn, a history of the humble screwdriver. It's just one of a spate of oddball history books that eschew the grand and the momentous in favor of the small, the prosaic and the overlooked. Recently we've seen or will soon see histories of, among other things, salt, the ostrich, New York City sewage, flattery and not one but two books about dust. But...

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