The micro-history that started it all was Mark Kurlansky's 1998 Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.
From Cod, I was hooked. My brain understands the world best through a narrow lens.
If a micro-history is released as an audiobook (unfortunately not always a sure bet), then I'm a reliable consumer.
Great Audio Micro-Histories That I Loved:
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg
Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent by John Reader
Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World by Tom Zoellner
E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis
The Immortal Game: A History of Chess by David Shenk
Coal: A Human History by Barbara Freese
A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable John Steele Gordon
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife
The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History by Jason Vuic
The Hamburger: A History Josh Ozersky
The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread by Maria Balinska
Micro-Histories Not On Audio That I Will Not Read (But Want To):
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel
Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner
Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber by Stephen Yafa
Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty by Robert D. Friedel
One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw by Witold Rybczynski
The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee by Stewart Lee Allen
Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman
Aspirin: The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug by Diarmuid Jeffreys
The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski
The Toothpick: Technology and Culture by Henry Petroski
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum
Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire by Roy Moxham
Beans: A History by Ken Albala
The Story of Corn by Betty Fussell
Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast
The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History by Katherine Ashenburg
Looking at this list, I'm amazed at how many books I'm denied due to a lack of audio format. Marshall McLuhan is of course correct, the medium is the message.
What books would you add to this list?
What are your favorite micro-histories?
What are you reading?