Phosphorus has played a critical role in some of the most lethal substances on earth: firebombs, rat poison, nerve gas. But it's also the key component of one of the most vital: fertilizer, which has sustained life for billions of people. Dan Egan investigates the past, present, and future of what has been called 'the oil of our time.'
The dark history highlights the element’s overlooked centrality to human life, and Egan makes sure to counterbalance his warnings of phosphorus overuse with strategies to cope with potential shortages, including 'aggressively' recycling manure. This will ignite readers’ curiosity.