Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

  • by David R. Montgomery
  • Narrated by Tim Lundeen
  • 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

"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

Most Helpful

a must listen for all environmentally conscious pe

absolutely mind blowing book. never thought that I would have been enthralled by a book about soils. totally awesome listen.
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- Mr Loughran

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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- m

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-07-2011
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks