The Longest War

Book - 2015
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Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize ** A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year

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 a thrilling drama of man versus nature, journalist Jonathan Waldman travels from Key West, Florida, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to meet the colorful and often reclusive people who are fighting our mightiest and unlikeliest enemy. He sneaks into an abandoned steelworks with a brave artist, and then he nearly gets kicked out of Ball Corporation's Can School. Across the Arctic, he follows a massive high-tech robot that hunts 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 mother ship 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.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Simon & Schuster,, 2015
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451691597
Branch Call Number: 620.11223 Wal
Characteristics: xii, 288 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm


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Mar 31, 2017

If you want to understand corrosion from the perspective of “People” magazine, then, by all means, read this book. If you want to understand how and why things corrode and what can be done about it, then, by all means, find a different book to read.

Nov 23, 2015

Not technical enough for my tastes. I give it 5 out of 10. Not all that interesting - some stuff is just lists, like lists of members of such and such an organization. Really - who cares. I find i am skipping many paragraphs.
Related to that; I think needed a better editor, for example some sentences in the book don't make sense. Reminds me a bit of, and not s good as; Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet

Oct 19, 2015

The book is not really about rust. It's more of a collection of human interest stories, each of which happens to involve corrosion somehow.

It's good in places but kind of uneven overall. Each chapter is pretty much disconnected from the rest: the sort of book where if you're not digging the character or story after the first couple pages of a chapter, you might as well just skip it and move on to the next.

Oct 07, 2015

A sprawling account of rust in various settings...
lots of extraneous material.
I liked the story of the statue of liberty's deterioration and the labor of love and technology which gave it many more years.

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