We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Golden Thread

On sale

4th October 2018

Price: £21.99

Select a format

Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529345384

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

As heard on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week

A new history of ingenuity from the author of The Secret Lives of Colour.

From the mummies of Ancient Egypt; via the silken dragon robes of Imperial China and the woollen sails of Viking longboats to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution (and sparked more than one war); arriving finally at the lab-blended fibres that have allowed astronauts to moonwalk — fabrics, manmade and natural, have changed and shaped the world we live in.

In twelve fascinating chapters, Kassia St Clair lays out an alternative history of civilisation and human creativity. Wittily written and compellingly argued, this book will change the way you see the world.

(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What's Inside

Read More Read Less


A joyful commingling of text and textiles in 13 beautifully wrought stories. We visit a cave where dyed fibres more than 30,000 years old have been discovered; goggle at the starched intricacy of sixteenth-century lace ruffs; flinch over astronauts' nappies and the sodden sleeping bags of early polar expeditions; and savour the idea of materials spun from spiders' webs.
The Golden Thread will make you rethink your relationship with fabric
The history of the world through the eye of a needle... Fascinating... I recommend this book to anyone
A charming, absorbing and quietly feminist history that takes us on a journey from the silk roads to sportswear, from ruffs to spacesuits... I devoured this book
Superb... this dazzling book puts fabric at the very heart of human history.
A curious and illuminating history of fabric
SUNDAY TIMES, History Book of the Year
A history of fabric might not sound immediately exciting, but St Clair's book is a refreshing treat, every page bursting with surprising insights. Clothing, she argues, is central to history, from myths and legends to trade and technology. The threads woven by the Greek Fates, the bandages that wrapped Egyptian mummies, the wool that made medieval England rich, the lace in Vermeer's paintings : it all makes for a smart and entertaining historical tapestry
Vividly drawn . . . this beautifully presented tome is perfect for dipping in and out of
Peter Frankopan, Book of the Year, HISTORY TODAY
Remarkable . . . hugely ambitious, sparklingly erudite and wonderfully engaging
Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine
The Golden Thread is worth a read for informing your political thinking, and it will entertain you far more than most 'political' books
Such a captivating read its likely you'll want to devour this engrossing patchwork of textile history in one sitting