Despite a delightfully funny ""Opening Line"" concerning the orneriness of tangled string (""it has a nasty mind of its own""), the title here is something of a misnomer. String is mostly about rope and knots, an intriguing, densely packed volume about sailor's lore, the mechanics of rope, why some knots work better than others, vocabulary (""twine,"" ""line,"" ""sheets,"" ""halyards,"" etc.), even how to tie a bow tie and sew on a button (""a deft little piece of line engineering...a skill you will need the rest of your life""). The drawings are clear, detailed, and drawn with beguiling verve; they're also crammed with so many hints, arrows, directions, and comments (""a handsome knot--symmetrical and rhythmic"") that they can take some study to extract the meat. Adkins's instructions are full of brisk humor and great fun; he includes all the best knots--the bowline, the ""Abraham Lincoln"" of knots; clove, timber, and half hitches; and even a challenging new knot designed to cope with synthetic fibers: the ""Hunter's bend."" Index.