Combining science, philosophy and natural history with a voracious curosity about how the universe works, Logan takes us on a wonderful journey of discovery as charming as it is fascinating. He has written a unique and thoughtful history of the soil that sustains us, as well as a touching memoir of his own personal connection to it.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.18(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.54(d)|
About the Author
William Bryant Logan is a Quill & Trowel Award-winning writer, a member of the faculty at the New York Botanical Garden, a sought-after lecturer and teacher, and a practicing arborist. He is the author of Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
The two waited.
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.
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.