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1856. Eighteen-year-old chemistry student William Perkin’s experiment has gone horribly wrong. But the deep brown sludge his botched project has produced has an unexpected power: the power to dye everything it touches a brilliant purple. Perkin has discovered mauve, the world’s first synthetic dye, bridging a gap between pure chemistry and industry which will change the world forever. From the fetching ribbons tying back the hair of every... more...

The New York Times bestselling author of Just My Type and On the Map offers an ode to letter writing and its possible salvation in the digital age. Few things are as exciting—and potentially life-changing—as discovering an old letter. And while etiquette books still extol the practice, letter writing seems to be disappearing amid a flurry of e-mails, texting, and tweeting. The recent decline in letter writing marks a cultural shift so vast that in... more...

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Cartography enthusiasts rejoice: the bestselling author of Just My Type reveals the fascinating relationship between man and map.     Simon Garfield’s Just My Type illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps.   Imagine a world without maps. How would we travel? Could we own... more...

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A skillfully woven tapestry of diary entries of ordinary Britons in the rarely discussed but pivotal period of 1945 to 1948. The result is a moving digest of thoughts and emotions in the post-war period.