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Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

3.0 4
by William Bryant Logan

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ISBN-10: 039332947X

ISBN-13: 9780393329476

Pub. Date: 11/06/2006

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

“A gleeful, poetic book. . . . Like the best natural histories, Dirt is a kind of prayer.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“You are about to read a lot about dirt, which no one knows very much about.” So begins the cult classic that brings mystery and magic to “that stuff that won’t come off your collar.”


“A gleeful, poetic book. . . . Like the best natural histories, Dirt is a kind of prayer.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“You are about to read a lot about dirt, which no one knows very much about.” So begins the cult classic that brings mystery and magic to “that stuff that won’t come off your collar.”
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Saint Phocas, Darwin, and Virgil parade through this thought-provoking work, taking their place next to the dung beetle, the compost heap, dowsing, historical farming, and the microscopic biota that till the soil. With fresh eyes and heartfelt reverence, William Bryant Logan variously observes, “There is glamour to the study of rock”; “The most mysterious place on Earth is right beneath our feet”; and “Dirt is the gift of each to all.”
Whether Logan is traversing the far reaches of the cosmos or plowing through our planet’s crust, his delightful, elegant, and surprisingly soulful meditations greatly enrich our concept of “dirt,” that substance from which we all arise and to which we all must return.

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

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Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
rjorgenson More than 1 year ago
DIRT: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth was written by William Bryant Logan in 1995. This book approached writing in a format different than a typical book. Bryant wrote about his meditations, experiences, and thoughts of soil as well as other parts of the world around us. There were a few main concepts presented in this book. The most repetitive and reoccurring theme of the book is connectedness. Bryant connected so many aspects of the world together and wrote about how they affect one another. He brought up how microorganisms living in soil will provide nutrients to plants, the plants receive energy to produce from those nutrients and the sun, and then plants feed humans. After humans digest food, it is then returned to the ground through human waste dumping. Once it is in the soil, the same microorganisms break it down (plants are fertilized by manure as well) at which point it then provides nutrients for plants and the cycle starts all over again. This was just one example of how Bryant used interconnectedness to show how the world interacts and affects itself. Another theme present in the book is personal experience. Bryant did a lot of reflecting of his life experiences and his own views. He spoke about when he was a little boy and he enjoyed watching oatmeal cook and spill over the pan, then he talked about how he had friends get dirt from random places in the country to test which one was the best for farming and crops, he also discussed a trip he took to Georgia where they investigated the grounds because they were covered with fertilizer made up of wastes and manure. A final reoccurring theme was Biblical references. It is always interesting and surprising when an author writes on both the Bible and evolution and uses both of them. He references the stories of the Bible as well as quoting actual verses. It is not very often authors combine these two aspects in a positive light. It was refreshing Bryant did not bash either side but at the same time it was confusing because the two sides have some conflicting views. Although this book was informative, it was not credible and I had some struggles with it. Looking at this book more critically, there are a few areas which Bryant could prove his work more thoroughly. Starting in the first chapter, he begins by stating how soil came from stars and how the world developed from the basis of stardust. In his argument for this his sources are not cited or credible; however he does quote an astronomer from Washington University. Even though he quotes him in his writing, he does not cite where this quote came from. We do not know if it was in an interview (formal or informal), from writing, or from a personal conversation. Not only does he to site sources within his writing, he puts no sources in the back of the book. Some novels will quote a person or a book (or reference it) and then the reader is able to look up the actual results listed in the book. Bryant cites very little of his sources and does so poorly. Because he does this on an unimpressive level, it makes him less credible and his work less believable. I will say that Bryant brings up good material and writes on subjects that are thought provoking; however, he needs to back them up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The two waited.
ReadingGG More than 1 year ago
Borrow this one from a friend or the library. I learned maybe 5 interesting new facts about soil. It was mostly boring drivel. Many times at the end of a chapter (or even a paragraph) I stopped and scratched my head - there were a lot of pretty words that didn't really say anything. I also thought Mr. Logan was sophomorically fascinated with dung and sex.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Look down and understand what controls our lives in ways we never think about. If we don't care for where our food comes from, what holds the weight of our shelter, what holds us upright as we move, we are doomed. Real food for thought and action. A Good Story told with humor and warmth.