non-fiction book by Richard Preston
, author of The Hot Zone
, tells the story of Nucor
, and the building of a revolutionary new steel mill.
Nucor is a small, agressive steelmaker. The company began as REO, Ransom Olds's new car company after GM ganked him. REO is best known for its durable, heavy trucks, including the REO Speedwagon. At the time of writing, Nucor was the only domestic manufacturer of bolts. If you have a bolt with an "n" on the head, you are holding a bolt made from American Steel.
The book follows a square mile of Indiana cornfield as it becomes the world's first Continuous Strip Casting Mill, a machine that transforms molten metal directly into rolled sheet steel. Most sheet steel is cast as ingots, then rolled.
The descriptions of the subculture of hot metal men are compelling, as are the images of molten steel. Preston takes us through the mill's first year, through triumphs and tragedies. There is little as immediately dangerous as molten steel.