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
The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness  by Steven Levy
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
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants  by Robert Sullivan
Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner
Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization  by Iain Gately
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
Glass:: From The First Mirror To Fiber Optics, The Story Of The Substance That Changed The World  by William S. Ellis
Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World's Favorite Flavor and Fragrance  by Patricia Rain
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?