[permaculture] The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health: 9780393244403: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Tue Apr 12 15:40:50 EDT 2016

The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health:
9780393244403: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com

The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health 1st
by David R. Montgomery
Anne Biklé

*A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see
nature and ourselves―and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine.*

Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes.
Good health―for people and for plants―depends on Earth’s smallest
creatures. *The Hidden Half of Nature* tells the story of our tangled
relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture
and medicine, from garden to gut.

When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their
barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a
cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results
impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their
bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes
and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds.
The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to
botanical life’s master strategy for defense and health.

They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is
diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada
of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune
system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome
goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling
insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We
are not what we eat. We are all―for better or worse―the product of what our
microbes eat.

This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the
natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil
fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases. *The
Hidden Half of Nature* reveals how to transform agriculture and medicine―by
merging the mind of an ecologist with the care of a gardener and the skill
of a doctor.
20 illustrations

Editorial Reviews Review
“A must-read for avid gardeners, those interested in bolstering our
precarious food supply, or anyone remotely concerned about their health and
the soil under their feet.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“*The Hidden Half of Nature* offers a wonderfully fresh and exquisitely
informed approach that could change how we relate to ourselves, our diets,
our gardens and our world.” (Tim McNulty - Seattle Times)

“Montgomery and Biklé argue that when we farm and when we eat, we’re
feeding a diverse community of microorganisms. This book is sure to become
a game-changing guide to the future of good food and healthy landscapes.”
(Dan Barber, chef and author of The Third Plate)

“[A] transformative read.” (Tom Philpott - Mother Jones)

“*The Hidden Half of Nature* draws a straight line from the microbes that
live in healthy soil to those that live in healthy guts, skillfully
blending the personal and the scientific. This is a must-read for anyone
concerned with their own health.” (Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken

“Amazingly detailed and well-researched. … [*The Hidden Half of Nature*]
lays out the beautiful connection between the microbial garden in our
bodies and the microbial garden in the Earth.” (Sally Peterson - Oregon

“*The Hidden Half of Nature* reads like a fast-paced novel but tells the
true story of the workings of soils, and even our own bodies.” (Neil
Shubin, author of The Universe Within)

“One of the year’s best books on gardens and health.” (Jim McCausland -
Sunset Magazine)
About the Author David R. Montgomery is a professor of geomorphology at the
University of Washington and a 2008 MacArthur Fellow. He is the author of
The RocksDon't Lie and other award-winning popular science books.

AnneBiklé is a biologist and environmental planner. Her career spans
thefields of environmental stewardship, habitat restoration, and
publichealth. The Hidden Half of Nature is her first book.

Their website is dig2grow.com

Product Details

   - *Hardcover:* 320 pages
   - *Publisher:* W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 16, 2015)
   - *Language:* English
   - *ISBN-10:* 0393244407
   - *ISBN-13:* 978-0393244403
   - * Product Dimensions: * 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
   - *Shipping Weight:* 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies

Top Customer Reviews
*5.0 out of 5 stars*
the crucial importance of healthy microbiota in soil and human bodies. It
really is important to know something about.
By lyndonbrecht
on December 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is a more complex book than meets the eye. I thought it would be about
the quite r4ecent scientific and medical investigations of the human
microbiome, which increasingly looks central to human health. It is that,
but this is a highly personal book that mixes health of the
earth--soil--and health of a person, sort of an inside soil and outside
soil, literally grounded in the authors' garden in Seattle. The book
presents equal parts personal experience and hard science, which is
described clearly and should be accessible to readers--both soil and human
microbiomes are far, far more complex than most people appreciate.

The book starts with a description of the authors' (the authors are
married, and both have extensive backgrounds in science) rebuilding poor
soil in their Seattle house, to make a garden. To be brief (the book
describes this very well and gardeners will like it) it quickly became
fertile and growth exploded, as did unanticipated populations of birds,
insects and visiting mammals, all stemming from an enriched microbiota
(which includes bacteria, fungi and other folks). A healthy soil has a
healthy microbiota, every bit as complex as the above ground ecosystem
parts; the point is that healthy soil produces healthy food--the book is
explicitly advocating changes in farming.

This connects with Bikle's cancer and experience. At first this doesn't
seem relevant, but it gradually introduces the human microbiome in all its
complexity, and its impact on health, and how manipulating it can have good
consequences. See the connection between healthy soil and healthy body?
Human ignorance of the microbial world has been hugely costly.

Recent patterns have agriculture dousing land with pesticides, herbicides
and fertilizer, building up resistance in harmful bacteria and
impoverishing the soil by cropping practices. And so with dousing patients
with chemicals--works wonders but may alter or kill off the microbiota and
in the long term do more harm than good. This book makes a very solid case,
and also notes that big pharma and agribusiness will fight it, as they
always have, because they have so much to lose. Think of this book as an
attempt to raise consciousness. If you read it through, your views will
change, and if not a convert to the lifestyle advocated, you'll at least
have to credit it as having some compelling evidence behind it.

So: a healthier future will require much more awareness of microbes and
taking them into account as assets in body and soil.

*5.0 out of 5 stars*
Ancient Hidden Allies
By Michael T. Yanega
March 15, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This remarkable and fascinating book really opened my eyes about the
significance of a term I had heard before, but didn't fully appreciate--
microbiome. Starting from the story of why composting makes soil healthy,
the authors take us to the roots of plants to learn that plants have a way
of communicating with the bacteria and fungi in the soil. In this way
plants attract the microbes they need to grow and stay healthy. We also
learn that modern chemical fertilizers are destroying the soil microbiome
so that crops are less nutritious and the soil's ability to produce crops
Then we learn about the human microbiome and find that the microbes in our
bodies outnumber our own cells by many times, and that our gut is an
amazing system analogous to the root system in plants. Our own health is
strongly affected by our microbiome, and that antibiotics must be used
carefully in order not to decimate our inner allies. Indeed, our outdated
view of 'germs' is leading to the rapid evolution of superbugs that can
resist most antiseptics and drugs. Many chronic diseases are a consequence
of poorly developed, unhealthy microbiomes.
The message of this book is that much more needs to be learned about the
hidden world of nature, because even though we can't see it, our lives
depend on it.

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