I was hunting high and low for information about silk as I wanted to know all about silk production so I could understand the yarns available, and also because I like to see the things in my life as part of a bigger picture. A yarn has more meaning if I know and understand: where does it start and where will it end?
Yes, I am turning philosophical now - I think it is important to know because we all make decisions that effect other people, and the sequence - what we acquire, how we use it, where it goes when we are finished - is a process that contributes to shape the world we live in.
I was also motivated by having bought some yarn of a quality that I thought was rather poor for expensive silk. More exploration showed I had bought relatively cheap, maybe this was part of the problem. It was full of knots and all wispy at the edges. I queried with the seller whether it really was thrown silk, as claimed, they told me they had it checked by an expert and and that it was (but there was no written report, so I don't know quite what the expert said)... and I thought thrown silk was made from long continuous filament and shouldn't have wispy ends protruding. So I hunted high and low on the internet to learn more.
This book which I found is about the big picture, it is:
Global Silk Industry: A complete source book, by Rajat K Datta and Mahesh Nanavaty, published by Universal Publishers, USA, 2005, ISBN 1-58112-493.
I found and bought it via Amazon.com, it was inexpensive - at a time when the dollar-pound exchange rate was more favourable!
The authors are well qualified. Rajat K Datta is a retired director of International and National Sericulture Research Institutes in India (author of 300 scientific and technical papers) and Mahesh Nanavaty has worked for over 30 years in the silk industry, in the USA and India. The foreword is written by Xavier Gavyn Lavergne, as Secretary General of the International Silk Association.
As regards the content of the book, the preface has this neat summary
"Here are gathered, indeed, the main information and anaylsis regarding the history of production and trade of this exceptional fiber, from the origins of silk to the 21st century, covering the important changes in the silk scenario notably in the course of the 20th centruy, which explain today's situation and enlighten the future."
So we have history, we have a chapter looking at silk in relation to other fibres, an overview of the global silk industry today, and several chapters on silk production. There are reports on current and developing technology, and on the uses and market / marketing of silk.
However, this is not a heavyweight textbook, it is a paperback, 352 pages plus appendices and I found it a good read. Not only that, it filled in many gaps for me, I'm happier now that I understand how to find the quality of silk, and type of yarns, I want to buy, and where my use of silk fits in to the big picture.