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Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan

William Bryant Logan. 1996; 202 pp. $12.95. Riverhead Books, Consumer Services, 405 Marie Hill Parkway, East Rutherford, NJ 02073, 800/631-8571.

It's weird that we have no simple beautiful word like sol or suelo to bed down with. "Dirt" is so judgmental; "earth" jumps too quickly to Earth; "soil" leaps to dirty linen. William Bryant Logan sets out to purify dirt, to embed us so intimately in the skin of Earth that we will live momentarily, at least, entranced by its vibrancy. Dirt offers forty-four essays, each an intense short gawk into the invisible and visible livingness of soil. Logan digs it; he meditates on it with Hans Jenny, Thomas Jefferson, Dio-He-Ko, and George Perkins Marsh; he cherishes its clay and humic parts; he travels in gopher holes, to China, and through groundwater. In short, this is the most literate book to bring soil to soul and soul to the subterranean. Start here and you'll likely return here, just like the long, slow cycling of dirt.

ISBN: 039332947X

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