The Many Perks of Being Dirty

David R. Montgomery and Anne BiklĂ©’s “The Hidden Half of Nature”


The Hidden Half of Nature

By David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé

W.W. NORTON & COMPANY

In this transformative read, David Montgomery, a professor of earth and space sciences, and his wife, biologist and environmental planner Anne Biklé, unravel the universe of microbes that make dirt fertile and allow us to digest food. Both the lining of our colons and the ground beneath our feet, the authors write, are “bio­logical bazaars where plants and people trade nutritional wares and form alliances.” Combining lucid explication of emerging science with personal anecdotes, Montgomery and Biklé, who confronted a cancer diagnosis while writing the book, reveal that our immune defenses depend on protecting and nourishing these microscopic brigades.

  • Tom Philpott

    Tom Philpott is the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. He can be reached at tphilpott@motherjones.com, or on Twitter at @tomphilpott.

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