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Download Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations (Unabridged), by David R. Montgomery
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (240 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David R. Montgomery Narrator: Tim Lundeen Publisher: University Press Audiobooks Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rufo Quintavalle | 2/19/2014

    " Very informative. Actually at times too informative; he gives ten or twenty examples for every point he wants to make. But I forgive him - his argument is that humans throughout history and across a variety of different locations have abused their soil and that this has led to the downfall of their respective civilizations, so it makes sense that he needs a lot of evidence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Andy Gagnon | 2/12/2014

    " A fascinating history of the spread of agriculture across the planet and its affect on the soil. Farming could be described as generations of humans depleting the soil of its nutrients and moving on. It has an excellent history of farming techniques across the globe, from the earliest methods in the now barren Fertile Crescent, to livestock based farming, terraced farming to conserve water/topsoil, through to our current petroleum-based industrial agrochemical system, and back to so-called alternative agroecology (organic farming). This book is long on statistics and can be a bit dry at times. The last chapter is worth the effort. It ties together where we're headed and what can be done to solve our problems in a sustainable way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dan | 1/27/2014

    " I read this book as part of a soils class in science. The book did a good job at conveying the importance of soils to a civilisation. I would certainly suggest this book to all who can no longer simply use the world dirt to describe to soil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jim Salisbury | 1/17/2014

    " Wherever I've lived in this country I've noticed the effects of erosion. It was particularly evident in Georgia where the red Georgia clay is everywhere evident. For awhile I couldn't figure out how in the world they ever grew cotton on this soil. I then had the good fortune to rent a small farm where there was a small plot of the original soil. Amazing stuff - black, light fluffy and very fertile, also very fragile and once tilled very prone to wash away in the very heavy Georgia rains. The prairie another interest of mine and the site of what has been called the second worst environmental calamity in the history of civilization - the dust bowl, was another rather large example of our failure to subdue nature. I remember traveling through Amarillo, Texas in the early 70's and wondering what in the world happened here. The landscape looked like what would be left of the world after an atomic war. This book explains it all and perhaps gives us a preview of what life may hold for the human race after we burn up all the oil and soil in our beloved automobiles. "

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