Dan’s newest book, THE DEVIL’S ELEMENT: PHOSPHORUS AND A WORLD OUT OF BALANCE, is an insightful exploration of one of earth’s most significant and dangerous natural resources. Since it was first refined from human urine in a seventeenth-century alchemist’s laboratory, phosphorus has been used to help burn down entire cities as well as to create the modern chemical fertilizers that have allowed the global population to nearly quadruple in the past hundred years. With a journalist’s ability to translate meticulous research into a thrilling story, Egan brings phosphorus’s checkered history to life. Today, with phosphorus at the center of an increasingly dire environmental disaster poisoning freshwater sources all over the globe, its history has taken on renewed significance. Egan convincingly makes the case that we can no longer afford to be ignorant of our phosphorous use and the damage it is causing.