Page turner about the modern logistics industry
November 2, 2020 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Does such a book exist? If so, I want to read it. Ideally with significant content about logistics on the domestic level. How does the crap get from the shipping container to the warehouse to my house?
posted by latkes to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have not read it, but I have heard good things about Marc Levinson's The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. Reviews seem mixed about whether it's gripping and fascinating or kind of dry.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 6:45 PM on November 2 [9 favorites]


Came here to recommend "The Box". It's genuinely interesting, but can be a bit dry at times when it gets a bit to into the weeds.
posted by larthegreat at 6:48 PM on November 2


I loved The Box. Deborah Cowen’s 2014 book The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade was also excellent. I also really enjoyed The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins by Anna Tsing, about the matsutake mushroom supply chain, but this might not be quite what you're looking for. Finally, I also liked Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution by Edna Bonacich and Jake Wilson, but it's a bit old (2008) and kind of dry. However, it probably best meets your interest in the domestic component of the supply chain.

And this isn't a book, but Miriam Posner's 2018 article See No Evil in Logic Magazine is also excellent and worth a read.
posted by k8lin at 7:13 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]


Also came here to recommend The Box, so will have to leave this, entertaining and frightening, reads like a thriller: an article on the impact of NotPetya on the world's largest shipping chain.
posted by BrStekker at 7:29 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


You might be interested in listening to Alexis Madrigal's 8-part podcast Containers.
posted by bcwinters at 7:30 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]


John McPhee, Uncommon Carriers.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:36 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]


Maybe you’d like this article about shipping paletts?
posted by Xalf at 7:46 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


A bit older, but Pacific Fruit Express describes the first major transcontinental shipping industry after the mail, fast produce across country.
posted by nickggully at 9:08 PM on November 2


I recently read Rose George's Ninety Percent of Everything, which fits your bill exactly. Fascinating and exceptionally well-written.

The podcast mentioned above, Alexis Madrigal's CONTAINERS, is also terrific.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:59 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


Seconding Containers and Uncommon Carriers.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:37 AM on November 3


My father in law just read The Secret Life of Groceries, which deals to a large part with logistics. He really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to reading it.
posted by dgr8bob at 10:19 AM on November 3


In terms of food logistics, check out Fresh. It's about the history of cold food logistics, mostly in the USA.
posted by burntbook at 11:53 AM on November 7


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