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Library JournalKanigel (science writing, MIT; The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan) provides more than a mere history of leather making and the quest for an artificial replacement. He also delves into what we mean when we speak of realand natural, particularly how these terms might be applied in the mass production of what has historically been handicraft and in the search for human-made materials that reproduce leather's properties. In the tanning industry, where chromium has largely displaced vegetable and animal waste-derived treatments and any pattern can be embossed on leather, on what basis can claims of natural be made? The history of leather substitutes is charted mostly through the exemplars of Naugahyde, Corfam, and Ultrasuede and demonstrates how the materials of the day were adapted to simulate the look, feel, and durability of leather at a cheaper cost. Included is a categorized bibliography aptly covering the technical, business, and psychosocial aspects of this subject. The technical prose is precise and engaging; recommended for academic libraries as well as for the science or business departments of large public libraries.