The English longbow, made of rare yew wood, unmatched for accuracy, speed of fire, and deadliness, shifted Europe’s balance of power in the Middle Ages. Schooners, those “able handsome ladies” of the sea, inaugurated a new era of global trade, carrying high-value cargoes of tea and spice to Europe and America with unmatched speed and reliability. The violin, individual examples of which have personalities and histories as brilliant as the performers who play them, brought Western music to the pinnacle of expressiveness. These three iconic artifacts exemplify the inventive ways human ingenuity has employed wood - one of our most extraordinary natural substances - to change its culture and history. In this sweeping and beautifully-written history, award-winning author Marq de Villiers explores our relationship with wood, from ancient times to the present, from the forest to the workshop. Wood, he writes, has always been an essential companion to human development, and its most remarkable applications may still be ahead.