I am the most amazing version of myself that I have ever met.
I got turned onto this book after listening to Demon Under the Microscope, Hager's other popular work. The two books are very similar, although I must say I enjoyed the Alchemy of Air more. It details the interesting lives of Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, both of whom played a large part in the reason why you and I lead healthy lives here on earth.
The ability to fix nitrogen has presented humans with an interesting paradox. On one hand, nitrogen is naturally limiting in most environments, and this essential element can help humans produce crops in quantities and in smaller areas than ever before. On the other hand, it can also be used to create bombs and is essential for any military.
Hager tells this story in a fascinating way, including many stories that are interwoven and tied together, making the narrative sound like a fictional story.
Its a fascinating book - you won't be disappointed!
This is the best kind of non-fiction. It is human-focused, so it organizes the story around a few key people, but it is about wide-scale events of world-changing importance. There are many non-fiction books that seek to deliver information and to do so in an accessible way. Most of these don't figure out how to deliver the information in a compelling way. Still more of these are interesting if you're already interested in the topic, but not otherwise. This book is compelling, and should be interesting to anyone who wants to know something of critical importance to the world. I am a fairly well-read person who is generally scientifically and historically literate, and I have no idea why I knew basically nothing of the subject of this book. So many facts about the first two world wars come into focus thanks to the information in this book. Bravo.
Hi. My name is Mann & I am an Enterprise Communications expert by profession. I have always loved reading books and primarily enjoy books on Finance, Science & Technology and History. I do hear an occasional Fictional book though I prefer to read them instead.
Yes. All those who love reading about science and its impact on our society will enjoy this book a lot. Very well researched book. The best part is the interweaving of the human side and scientific side of the story. Thomas Hager is an exceptional storyteller who brings to context different historical events and their reverberations on our contemporary life.
I always hated Chemistry as a kid and now I feel, if only I had read this book when I was young, my perception of the subject and its relevance would have been way different.
Most Human Human. The books is extremely beautiful series of essays on Computing and Artificial Intelligence. Its another realm of science presented with its larger role in the society and meta-philosophy. The book though gets more exciting towards the latter half.
Awesome performance by Adam.
Follies by Geniuses.
This book should be required reading/listening in schools in my opinion. It explains how we got to where we are today in terms of World population growth and it also explains how the two world wars went on for the length of time they did.
I really enjoyed this book both from the science content and from the detailed descriptions of the key people involved in this discovery. I wish there were more books like this availabe
This book has changed my life because it has finally made me understand the perils that lie ahead of us as we try to feed ourselves after oil gets harder to produce. Hager is just a genius.
The scope and detail are very satisfying. Hagar has definitely done his homework. Well worth the time to learn some of this fascinating history that you would think we all would have been told about.
Without over emphasizing it, Hagar paints us a shocking picture of one of the tragedies of human work, how a brilliant invention created to feed people and promote life is then used for its exact opposite - to kill as many people as quickly as possible. Many of the inherent contractions of patriotic devotion also come out clearly in this story.
Where the book loses me is the many personal quasi-fictional sections "Bosch slowly raised his forehead off his hands. He thought of his wife. His forehead furrowed..." One gets the impression publishers asked for something that would be dramatic, and maybe appeal to greater audience. How do we know Bosch furrowed his brow and thought of his wife - maybe at that critical point he was thinking about where to eat lunch.
I am a Superintendent of several K-12 Online School programs. I travel extensively with a book in my ear hours every day.
It is in my top 20 out of 350.
It is a combination of good science and history. I probably would compare it to "Einstein: His Life and Universe" by Walter Isaacson. Yes, it is that good.
Thomas Hager keeps the narrative moving quickly. He takes you into details that are unexpected and yet build a better understanding of the process that brought us synthetic nitrogen.
The only issue was the narrator seemed slightly disconected from time to time. Now I am straining to find something critical to say about this wonderful experience.
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis
History of fertilizer. Both wonderful and horrifying. Well written and narrated. Worth reading.
Research Technologist with deep interests in Host Cell - Pathogen Interactions & Cancer Research. I enjoy and mostly listen to Non-Fiction audiobooks on Medicine/Science, War and History.
One of my BEST Audiobooks.
The main character of the story; Fritz Haber and he basically in my opinion being the originator and mastermind of Modern Chemistry / Chemical warfare and processes used till date.
A lot and can't say all here, might transcribe the whole book and dont' want to ruin the experience for someone so just buy and enjoy.
Another great audiobook by Thomas Hager. I just love stories liike this. I learnt all the fundamental equations and processes in school but never knew a story like this existed behind it. A story of Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, and their collaboration on the Haber-Bosch process for creating fixed nitrogen for the benefit of mankind. I can boldly say that these two were the first great chemists to emerge and Chemistry is really the foundation of all things....without chemistry, nothing really would have existed.
I really appreciate these olden days scientists, their inovative discoveries and all that they did to even make Modern Science a little bit easier. They shall forever be remembered.