William Bryant Logan is a practising arborist and the author of four books on nature:
Sprout Lands, Dirt, Oak, and Air.
I came across Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth in a hotel room and was intrigued by the title and was then drawn in to the book itself.
Dirt is everywhere – whether we want it or not. It is the substance from which we all arise and to which we all must return.
Wherever there are decay and repose, there begins to be soil. This book explores why dirt is special and contains power and potential with a mix of stories and factual information in an easy to read style.
Logan combines science, philosophy, and history with a quirky curiosity about why the universe works the way it does. He contrasts Thomas Jefferson's and John Adams's attitudes toward agriculture, noting that while Jefferson was the more visionary agrarian, Adams was in fact the more successful farmer, and he includes the latter's recipes for compost. Logan draws the connections between dust storms and dust bunnies, between cosmic dust and the stuff on our windowsills. He tells the story of St. Phocas, the patron saint of gardening, who took care when he was martyred to make sure his body was composted. .
William Bryan Logan brings everything beneath our feet up into our consciousness as a lens on life and the cycles of nature. You will think differently about soil, what it tells us about our past, and what it suggests about our future after reading it!