Hager traces the development of nitrogen as an industrial product first from the mines of Chile and Peru in the early 19th century through all the way through the Third Reich and tells the tales of the people involved all the way. The book is lively and worth hearing/reading as a way of improving one's general knowledge of history and the world we live in.
I'm not sure about the subtitle of the book. I think the story deals with many characters over the course of centuries. Although the story comes to a natural conclusion with the demise of the Third Reich, the Saltpeter Wars and WWI are probably more important to the whole book. Alas, maybe it's just that anything claiming to be about Hitler's rise to power is guaranteed to sell more copies.
The reader makes a surprising number of mistakes with people's names (e.g. is it Le, La or Les Rossignole?) and place names (e.g. Auschwitz, not Aus-witch), not to mention with some ordinary words (e.g. "soldering.") He does a good job of reading generally. I liked listening to him. But mispronouncing things that are easy to look up is unfortunate.
A very interesting and intertwined historically relevant story. Well written and well read by the narrator. A lot more substance than expected. Insights into chemistry, history, politics and sociology all in one book. Well worth the time to read or listen too!
Smooth, clear and crisp presentation of an often technical topic. Never boring.
The depth of the interconnections in this book are very enlightening. Did Haber saved the world from the Malthusian dilemma... Or did he only postpone the inevitable?
Haven't read the print version.
Karl Bosch. Tireless dedication to the process, and for somewhat defying the Nazism.
Not likely to listen to the whole book again but I certainly will use parts of it to verify related bits of knowledge.
The use of pigeon poop as quality fertilizer - we had recently been on a guided walk in Turkey and the farmers always had coops to encourage pigeons to nest, The book provided affirmation that historical practices were rooted in practical results.
No - the chapters were well structured to provide facets of the whole story. Stopping at the end of a chapter was just fine.
A marvellous effort by the author in chasing down and constructing the story of ammonia and all its effects on our modern world.
The author builds a narrative out of the disparate events leading to discovery of the Haber Bosch process. Much of the best and worst of the modern world is owed to this discovery. Hager's prose are clear and the story is well structured and deeply compelling.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science or history.
The kernel of the story was very interesting but it had a tendency to wander a bit. The narrator not only mispronounced words and names but also had a grating style. Often, when I should have been concentrating on the book I was thinking instead of how much I disliked the narration.
I would listen again. This is a piece of history that I did not know about. I love chemistry and this history of modern chemistry played right into my interests.
Learning that modern food production would be impossible without this process.
When I read my voice is the narrator in my head. Hearing this read to me was like listening to a favorite professor.
I think I could have listened in one sitting. It was very gripping.
the whole story, amazing contribution talents of human kind and to the very low-down scale perpetrated by its evil use.
when the rise of nazi Hitler elimenating every Jews.
the rise and fall in revolution
marvelous and greiffing
Excellent historical, and informational book. On the top of my list.
The ramifications of the inventions. Both destruction in the form of weapons, and live giving in the form of fertilizer.
No. But it is very interesting
This is the fascinating story of two German scientists whose revolutionary inventions gave the world an inexhaustible supply of both fertilizer and explosives -- ultimately created from air. If you have any interest in history you will enjoy this, not only because it is about some extremely important turning points, but also because it is true factual history written like a novel, which makes it even more palatable. The reading is pretty good as well.