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Dust, A History of the Small and Invisible. By Joseph A. Amato (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000) 250 pp. $22.50
I finished reading Amato's well-crafted history of small and invisible particles while sitting in my alergist's office, awaiting my monthly injections. It seemed appropriate. After all, was I not there to acquire immunity against dust, pollen molds, and other microscopic irritants that make my eyes itch, my nose run, and my head ache? Amato is right, I thought. The small can wield disproportionate power over our lives, sometimes for better, but often for worse.
Amato offers a sparkling synthetic study--even a "poetic meditation," as …