Histories of materials continue to rise in popularity, exemplified by this excursion into the uses and aesthetics of wood. Green, a student and practitioner of the craft of woodworking, spans the remarkable range of objects created from trees throughout human history. In addition to defining terms, such as the distinction between hard- and softwoods, Green reiterates throughout this fluent and pleasing work the uniqueness of wood, which contributes to its attraction. No two pieces are alike in appearance, and specific species of trees are preferred for specific purposes: ash for baseball bats, oak for ships, cedar for furniture. Whatever object Green investigates, he discovers its layers of historical, commercial, environmental, and artistic significance, not least in the substitution for wood by other materials. Despite this trend, however, wood is always more appealing to sight and touch than its competition: nobody loves a titanium golf club the way they do a persimmon-headed driver. Sophisticated but approachable, Green's work richly satisfies curiosity about the subject.