If there is one tangible item more essential than all others to what mankind has been in recorded history, and even more important to what we are today and will be in any foreseeable future, certainly that item is steel. Yet as Mr. Fisher notes in his preface, the last comprehensive book on the subject was published in 1891; and most of the great innovations in use and production have come in the past years. He ""decided to fill the gap, little realizing what this work would mean."" It meant, obviously, an enormous amount of painstaking labor; ""the story of iron and steel, beginning some five thousand years ago, spread out in many directions -- woven in the social, economic, political, and other issues composing the fabric of civilization."" Mr. Fisher has followed a great many of these ferrous threads and the result is a book which should be as valuable to the historically-oriented general reader as it will be to the technical student and specialist. The text is lucid, easy reading, the many tables are well-designed for reference, and the complex processes involved are explained as well as can be in clear simple language.