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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling drama of man versus nature, detailing the fierce, ongoing fight against the mightiest and unlikeliest enemy: rust.

It has been called "the great destroyer" and "the evil". The Pentagon refers to it as "the pervasive menace". It destroys cars, fells bridges, sinks ships, sparks house fires, and nearly brought down the Statue of Liberty. Rust costs America more than $400 billion per year--more than all other natural disasters combined.

In Rust journalist Jonathan Waldman travels from Key West, Florida, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to meet the colorful and often reclusive people concerned with corrosion. He sneaks into an abandoned steelworks with a brave artist and nearly gets kicked out of Can School. Across the Arctic he follows a massive high-tech robot, hunting for rust in the Alaska pipeline. On a Florida film set, he meets the Defense Department's rust ambassador, who reveals that the navy's number-one foe isn't a foreign country but oxidation itself. At Home Depot's mothership in Atlanta, he hunts unsuccessfully for rust products with the store's rust products buyer--and then tracks down some snake-oil salesmen whose potions are not for sale at The Rust Store. Along the way Waldman encounters flying pigs, Trekkies, decapitations, exploding Coke cans, rust boogers, and nerdy superheroes.

The result is a fresh and often funny account of an overlooked engineering endeavor that is as compelling as it is grand, illuminating a hidden phenomenon that shapes the modern world. Rust affects everything from the design of our currency to the composition of our tap water, and it will determine the legacy we leave on this planet. This exploration of corrosion and the incredible lengths we go to fight it is narrative nonfiction at its very best--a fascinating and important subject delivered with energy and wit.

©2015 Jonathan Waldman (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Almost too geeky for geeks

What did you like best about Rust? What did you like least?

It's written in a style very similar to Mary Roach.... except that, where Roach provided a thick stew of satire, snark, and general humor, Waldman's effort, while definitely derivative of Roach, is more like a thin gruel. Perhaps it's just the subject matter; not quite as amenable to dark humor, than the subjects Roach has written about. The title is disingenuous, since the subject matter is really corrosion of many different metals, not just 'rust' (which most associate with iron and steel). The first few chapters were very interesting, about the Statue of Liberty, and then about food and beverage can manufacturing... but the chapters following those weren't even close to interesting.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm going to check and see what else Christopher Lane has narrated.

What about Christopher Lane’s performance did you like?

Superb narration... the best I've heard so far, and I listen to over 50 audiobooks a year. Lane's style is perfectly suited for the material, and he made the most of what he could with it. I wish all narrators were as talented as him.

Was Rust worth the listening time?

Hard to say... I really enjoyed the first two chapters. The rest, not nearly as much. I gave the book three stars, primarily for the effort Waldman made in trying to create something like Mary Roach.... but only two stars for the story, since the subject matter probably was the books' biggest liability.

Any additional comments?

I read/listen to only non-fiction, and wish the category had more to offer.... it's often difficult to find a non-fiction book which would be a natural winner.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I was hoping for more science

Mostly an account of people whose livelihood is based on the management of corrosion problems and an historical account of stainless steel. Since I have a job that leans me in this direction as well I was hoping for some insight. But aside from a new fear of beverage cans I can't say I learned too much. I'm still waiting to hear a good rust joke.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Human Stories in Corrosion

I couldn't get away from this story. It was just the right amount technical and informative and the right amount human drama. A timely story for a society now beginning to understand the value of preserving rather than replacing.

I'll probably listen to this a few more times. Fantastic narration and fantastic writing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

good but could have been edited

I work in custom manufacturing and corrosion is a constant issue. I found some good info, however, it was a bit to drawn out at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 04-11-15

not much rust, but full of other stories

There is some discussion about rust in this book, but don't expect to learn a lot. Most of the rest of the book seems to be a random collection of other stuff.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

rust is a must

great stories. highlights the importance of corrosion in society. but missed some critical issues that would have made a more compelling argument.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • Upper Tantallon, NS, Canada
  • 10-09-17

You better be mustachioed to read this

What a treat to listen to. Johnny Waldman did a fantastic job luring me into a scientific world that I had no idea existed. Witty, sharp, and incredibly easy to follow and enjoy. Christopher Lane is perfect for this, and like usual, does a wonderful job narrating. Rust was a a fantastic listen, and I look forward to more from Johnny Waldman!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

50% irrelevent trivia

What disappointed you about Rust?

The topic is inherently interesting, but it seems Waldman, the author, did not trust that his listeners would find it so. In my opinion, the audiobook is marked by hours of irrelevant trivia about the engineers and other characters who Waldman interviewed. I consider myself somewhat cheated by paying for a work about corrosion. It's fine for a journalist to kibitz with his subjects, but the content of their light conversation shouldn't appear in the final work.

What could Jonathan Waldman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

If Waldman had simply focused on the topic of corrosion, even if the content were technical, I would have been satisfied. Why do I care about the size of the fish tank maintained by an engineer working for the Alyeska pipeline? Even worse, why do I care about the musings of and cigarette breaks taken by Levar Burton while he's recording a video for the Dept of Defense's corrosion czar?

Have you listened to any of Christopher Lane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Lane's performance is fine.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Rust?

I would have cut most of the time-filling quirky, and never-endearing details. I don't need to know about the life of the guy who climbed the statue of liberty. The editing of this volume was negligent, in my opinion.

Any additional comments?

I blame the New York Times reviewer for my purchase of this aggravating audiobook. When I re-read the review, it became clear to me that he probably skipped over large portions of the text and whole chapters.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating look at something we ignore

If you could sum up Rust in three words, what would they be?

Insightful. Interesting. Surprising.

What other book might you compare Rust to and why?

This reminded me The Secret Life of Dust; both authors took on subjects that pervade daily life, but that we don't seriously think about critically/scientifically.

Any additional comments?

A really wonderful, in-depth look at rust. Corrosion surrounds us and it is inevitable. This book explains why it happens, how it is exacerbated or accelerated, and the ongoing battle to prevent it, clean it, and hold it bay. The author clearly spent a lot of time traveling and talking to experts, from those patrolling the oil pipelines for corrosion, to the incredible history of canning, to the US Government's fight against corrosion (for whom, at least through 2013, LeVar Burton made educational videos), to an artist who takes the most amazing, abstract photos of and finds beauty in rust. It is a fascinating journey learning about something that we can see almost everywhere but which we rarely take any real notice. Recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Easy Listen, Interesting and Holds your attention

Any additional comments?

Author did a great job exploring how rust affect everyone of us. I look forward to his next book.