Brian Hayes, who writes the Computing Science column for journal American Scientist, has produced this delightful, informative book about the infrastructure that keeps society going. Heavily illustrated with photographs, almost entirely taken by Hayes, the text informs and delights. The book is large and lavishly illustrated, so you might be tempted to treat it like a coffee-table book, one of those tomes you put on the table and never look at again. It would be a mistake to treat it this way. Infrastructure is critical to the maintenance of society, and within it are many critical technologies. Just because they are hidden from everyday sight does not mean they are unimportant: without them, our everyday society would collapse. Moreover, Hayes is a delightful writer, so what could be ponderous and technical text is instead delightful, witty, and informative.
Here are the chapter topics: mining, water supplies and sewerage, food and farming, oil and gas, power plants and the connecting power grid, communication structures, roads, railroads, bridges and tunnels, aviation, shipping, wastes and recycling. You may not have thought you were interested in these topics, but after reading this book, you will change your mind.