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The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (2015)

por David R. Montgomery

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1068198,566 (4.18)7
"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. [This book] tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut"--Dust jacket flap.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I first read this book in December 2015. I like it so much that I purchased my own copy. This is a beautifully written book that blends clearly described, scientific discoveries with the compelling personal insight of a husband and wife author/biologist/geologist team. The book explores the importance of microbes in the soil and in people. The authors discuss both the history of various scientific discoveries and the functioning of these microbes, as well as how these microbes relate to gardening/farming, plant growth, the immune system, the gut, auto-immune diseases, and general health of both humans and the environment. I found this book to be both fascinating and educational, without being condescending or oversimplified.



( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Brilliant! ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
I've met and like the authors, so I give this the best possible rating! They're super-nice people.

If you're new to the idea of microbes, you'll enjoy this story about how they affect us, told with a heavy emphasis on gardening (a passion of the author) and how staying in tune with our environment can keep us healthier. ( )
  richardSprague | Mar 22, 2020 |
3 1/2 stars
I picked this book up thinking it would be about gardening and how I could improve my soil. The first chapter had me very excited, when it discussed how the author and his wife bought a home with "dead dirt" and how they changed it, mostly through mulching and composting and... I'm not quite sure. That's because this *isn't* a gardening book, and we're never really given a very specific account of what they did beyond building up organic matter with a focus on soil microbes.

Honestly, the book really bogs down after the beginning. We get a history of why we use chemical fertilizers and what scientists learned over the last 200-300 years about the microscopic life in the soil no one could even see - how it interacts with plants and how it is damaged by our current agricultural practices. Then the author's wife is diagnosed with cancer and the book switches gears and we get another history of the evolution of scientific thinking regarding our digestive system - the idea that we're actually highly dependent upon bacteria and microbes that live within us and how we damage them with our heavily-refined Western diet and a reliance on antibiotics. The parallels between plant roots and our colon are drawn, and there's a fair amount of science to absorb. It's really very "interesting," but it can get kinda dull.

It isn't until the end when they put it all together that the book becomes fascinating again, when they discuss the importance of diet and how we need to care for the microbes that dwell within us. But even then, the authors (at least one chapter seems to be written by the author's wife) don't give very specific suggestions: fiber is important, and foods that contain prebiotics, and... I'm not quite sure. But maybe that's okay, because I've always believed that it's important to read everything you can but that it's more important to take what you learn and think for yourself. And maybe this isn't the kind of book I can read once and come away with a clear understanding, especially with the science involved. I really wanted to love this book, but I probably need to reread parts of it to better understand the concepts. Still, it would have been great if the author had been more specific with some suggestions for the reader to get started with, both in the garden and on the dinner table. ( )
  J.Green | Apr 7, 2017 |
Soil fascinates me. I'm not a scientist or a biologist, but ecology is one of my passions, and the role of soil - the source of plant life and health, rejuvenated by organic matter and critters, essential to agriculture and healthy food, able to sequester carbon, so tied in to the whole web of life - is vastly interesting to me.

I read this book because I'm a fan of David Montgomery's other science books for general audiences, and was interested to learn more about he and his wife rejuvenated their Seattle yard's and created a garden. (I'm also a Seattleite who has a yard full of soil that needs some help.)

I didn't initially realize when I picked up the book that it was also about our internal microbiome. The advances in our understanding of our gut flora in recent years are amazing, and I recently read a book on this exact topic. So although the book wasn't always the most riveting read for my bus commute (it's nonfiction, after all), I did find it all very interesting.

What I really loved about this book was the comparison and connections drawn between gardens and human digestive systems. Both are full of microbiology that, in large part, is helpful (extracts nutrients, keeps pests at bay) and feeding the microbiome is best for health and balance. I've been pursuing my own dietary changes for 4-5 years now, incrementally, and this book gave me a new area to focus on: how to feed my internal micro-allies.

The garden analogy made my own internal system make more sense to me. The gut is the root. Mind blown. Highly recommended. ( )
  chavala | Dec 28, 2016 |
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We are living through a scientific revolution as illuminating as the discovery that the Earth orbits the Sun.
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"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. [This book] tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut"--Dust jacket flap.

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