This is a book that describes the course of paper through the centuries, from China to Egypt and from the Middle East to Europe.
Starting from the Far East, the caravan routes are followed backwards. Extraordinary figures like Ts'ai Lun and Sven Hedin are met with and the important discovery made by the Persian traveller Nasir Khorsan in the medi eva l Egyptian bazaars is related.
One chapter is devoted to the production of papyrus in Syracuse and another to the skills of Tycho Brahe, not only concerning the production of paper and the printing and binding of his own books but also with regard to the way he managed to procure the necessary propelling power by digging out and developing a sophisticated system of reservoirs and interconnected dams on the isle of Ven.
The reader gets to know about the various stages of paper production throughout Europe, is told about various episodes and finally confronted with the introduction of wood pulp and the transformation of the old papermills into modern chemical industries.
The author, himself a descendant of an old family of paper makers in Amalfi, spent his childhood in a papermill at a time when this smiling little city, renowned for its location on one of the world's most beautiful coastlines, still had twelve mills producing the famous writing material.
With this book, Tajani sounds the alarm, calling upon the authorities to save what is left of one of the finest pre-industrial craft traditions in Europe.