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Extended Audio Sample Rust: The Longest War, by Jonathan Waldman Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Waldman Narrator: Christopher Lane Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The story of corrosion is in some ways the story of Western civilization—the outsized ambitions, the hubris and folly, the eccentric geniuses and dreamer geeks who changed the world. What a remarkable, fascinating book this is [due to] the clarity and quiet wit of Waldman’s prose, his gift for narrative, his zeal for reporting, and his eye for detail.”

    Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Gulp

  • “Compelling…Waldman does a masterful job of interweaving elements of the science and technology.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Rust sounds like a building code violation. But don’t let that fool you. This look at corrosion—its causes, its consequences, and especially the people devoted to combating it—is wide-ranging and consistently engrossing. Mr. Waldman makes rust shine.”

    New York Times

  • “A mix of reporting and history lesson that never gets boring.”

    Men’s Journal

  • “Fascinating…Adds luster to a substance considered synonymous with dullness.”

    Scientific American

  • “Engrossing…Brilliant…Waldman’s gift for narrative nonfiction shines in every chapter.”

    Natural History

  • “Waldman is a bright and curious companion in this lively adventure in search of the scourge of rust and its ingenious opponents.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Christopher Lane does a solid job of presenting the numerous anecdotes and explanations. Lane is good with dialogue, breathing life into Waldman’s parade of colorful characters.”


  • “In this remarkable book, Jonathan Waldman takes one of our planet’s oldest, most everyday—and most dangerously corrosive—chemical reactions and uses it as the starting point for a literary odyssey. Part adventure, part intellectual exploration, part pure fun, it will make you see both rust and life on earth in a new way.”

    Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

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