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Publisher's Summary

Dirt, soil, call it what you want - it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are - and have long been - using up Earth's soil. Once pared of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations.
A rich mix of history, archaeology, and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and how we have shaped soil - as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt.
David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations. The book is published by University of California Press.
©2007 The Regents of the University of California (P)2011 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"Anyone interested in environmental issues should read this book.... [It] entertains and stimulates thought." (Times Higher Education Supplement, UK)
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Customer Reviews

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By Dan on 06-11-12

Turns out there's a lot to learn about dirt

Dirt is both a facinating history of the stuff under our feet and a good education about how it's created, weathered away, drained or suplimented with nutrients and how human horticultural practices have effected it throughout time.

There are 3 clear sections to the book, the middle of which did seem to drag on repeating the same story over and over again. In fairness to the author though this is more an inditement of our farming practices over the centuries than to his writing style.

Well read and well researched this book is a great starting place for anyone interested in soil. You may even develop some enthusiasm on the subject and go and build yourself a Worm Farm and a compost heap!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By Zinkies on 09-11-17

I am disappointed in the audio narration

NB I have not listened to the whole book. I am considering returning the audiobook because the narrator has a nearly robotic cadence and inflection that has not changed in the first hour and a half. I really want to read this book, as I have had it recommended to me more than once. This narrator has convinced me so far that HE isn't very interested in the topic, but I am. It's making it difficult to follow the topic at hand. As I have much more time available to listen than read text, I'll give him another chapter before I decide whether to return it and get the text version of this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By m on 07-20-15

Very thought provoking

Great listen it's full of interesting information.
I good reminder how important our soil is to humanity.

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By mr on 05-10-15


Great book. A bit of a slow start and the narrator is a bit monotone but excellent none the less.

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