Author(s): Reese Palley
For seven thousand years, concrete has periodically shaped the path of human progress. Reese Palley's fascinating history of this ubiquitous and versatile material chronicles the repeated and often centuries-long losses of the technology and its many re-emergences, and the cultural, scientific and engineering accomplishments it has enabled. Palley takes us from concrete's earliest beginnings, including the startling proof that at least one of the pyramids was partially poured, through the building of the Eddystone Light, to the dramatic building explosion in the use of concrete during the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first century. He discusses the environmental impact of the production of concrete and attempts to find substitutes for the burning of lime. He ends by contemplating outer space, where almost all of the elements needed to build extraterrestrial communities already exist in the chemical make-up of the Moon and Mars.