A Seven-Thousand-Year History
"Reese Palley describes how forty grams of lunar soil brought back by Apollo-16 from the Moon was used to make concrete in 1986, and how that event predicts how men will be able to live comfortably and safely on the Moon."—Dr. T. D. Lin “Imagine! A biography of concrete! The surprising life story of all that gooey-goo poured over the centuries and how it’s kept us together; indeed, concrete is the reason why so many of the architectural wonders of ancient, disintegrated civilizations are still around. Poor Ozymandias! If only the 'king of kings' had been created out of this stuff instead of mere stone, he too would have made it. Reese Palley’s book is—hard to resist this—a concrete achievement.”—Bernard Kalb
“Reese Palley delightfully traces the mix of innovation and impudence that make up the 7000-year history of artificial stone. While he is attentive to the environmental impact of massive concrete structures such as the Three Gorges dam in China, he ultimately sees concrete as 'our ecological lifeboat,' noting new formulations that take toxic chemicals from water and air. His narrative, however, suggests a less felicitous future in which the hubris that has grown with our ability to hijack geology gives new meaning to another Edison invention: the concrete tombstone.” —New Scientist Magazine
Reese Palley’s fascinating illustrated history of this ubiquitous material chronicles the repeated and often centuries-long losses of the technology and its many re-emergences as well as the cultural, scientific, and engineering accomplishments it has enabled. The only history of its kind, Concrete takes us from its earliest beginnings—including startling proof that at least one of the pyramids was partially poured—through the building of the Eddystone Light to the explosion of construction during the twentieth and start of the twenty-first century. Palley explores the environmental impact of the production of concrete and attempts to find substitutes for the burning of lime and discusses the as-yet-unrealized possibilities, contemplating outer space, where almost all of the elements needed to build extra-terrestrial communities already exist in the chemical make up of the moon and Mars.
REESE PALLEY ,art dealer and historian, spent two decades girdling the world in Unlikely VII, his 46-foot sailing vessel, with his wife Marilyn. He is the author of many books and articles on subjects both nautical and artistic, including: The Best of Nautical Quarterly: The Lure of Sail and The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm.October 2010 $37.50 Hardcover (Can. $47.00)