The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine The Hidden Half of Nature lays out the astonishing reality

  • Title: The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health
  • Author: David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé
  • ISBN: 9780393244403
  • Page: 132
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine.The Hidden Half of Nature lays out the astonishing reality we ve been missing in the soil beneath our feet and right inside our bodies our world depends on a foundation of invisible life.Montgomery and Bikl share a captivating storyA riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine.The Hidden Half of Nature lays out the astonishing reality we ve been missing in the soil beneath our feet and right inside our bodies our world depends on a foundation of invisible life.Montgomery and Bikl share a captivating story of the least loved part of nature, taking readers through major milestones in agriculture and medicine to untangle our uneasy relationship with microbes From the challenge of turning their barren Seattle lot into a flourishing garden through Bikl s struggle with a surprise cancer diagnosis, the authors discover the power nature s smallest creatures wield over our lives Stunning parallels in the relationships that microbes develop with plant roots and the human gut reveal ways that farmers can restore degraded fields and doctors can reverse the modern epidemic of chronic diseases For in cultivating the beneficial microbes that make soil fertile and keep us healthy, we can suture rifts never meant to be.

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      132 David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé
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      Posted by:David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé
      Published :2019-04-13T00:30:39+00:00

    About "David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé"

    1. David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé

      David R Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies An author of award winning popular science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered When not writing or doing geology, he plays guitar and piano in the band Big Dirt He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Bikl and their black lab guide dog dropout Loki.

    549 thoughts on “The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health”

    1. 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 th [...]


    2. The authors are a married couple, one a geologist and the other a biologist. When they moved into a new home in Seattle, they discovered (as many other American home-owners have) that the soil in their backyard was about 1-2 inches of turf over clay. It is apparently standard practice to scrape away all the topsoil when making a new development, then buy turf to lay on top of that just before the sale.So, they set about trying to improve the soil. This basically required a lot of organic matter [...]


    3. I feel bad for not liking this book. I love all things microbes but don't love the writing style. It was a biography, more than anything else, which I am sure worked for many people, but it didn't work for me. There were some interesting aspects to the book but I had to wade through the personal lives of the authors, and I just couldn't make myself care about their house, their garden, or their lives. Of course I care about cancer and am always interested in reading about any advance in that fie [...]


    4. A book that covers a something you can't see but is integral to the web of life on earth, microbes and fungi and how they keep soil fertile and keep people healthy . The first third covers fungi and microbes in soil and the second two thirds talks about gut microbes, our microbiome. A lot of interesting info on areas that are currently being heavily researched and more fully understood. I am in no position to determine how accurate the info is but it seems well researched. The final couple of ch [...]


    5. "The Hidden Half of Nature" is a very balanced book using both personal stories and the histories of agriculture, science, and medicine to contextualize the impact of the microbial world on both soil and digestive tract health, and why those things matter. Over the course of the book, it develops that both the soil around plant roots and the cavities of the human colon have an odd number of similarities. Both develop microbe ecologies that play critical roles in extracting nutrients and protecti [...]


    6. A really approachable guide to the research behind microbiome theory. I loved how David and Anne combine their research and experience, both agricultural and medicinal. I think further research will similarly point to the connections between healthy soil with a balanced micro-ecosystem and sustained good health of those who draw their lives from it.


    7. This was a strange book to read. At several points, I almost quit reading it because of the giant leaps between back and forth between overly detailed technical science and overly generalized policy directives. And just generally I didn't enjoy it, but there was enough detail to keep me reading. The idea of the book, that the microbial environment and the microbiota that surround us and are within us are critical for a true understanding of environmental and personal health, is undeniable. And i [...]


    8. Not exactly what i had expected I thought it would be a lot more about the microscopic life in the upper layer of the ground (arthropods, fungi, bacteria, etc. which help the gardener) and nature. This book was actually much about medicine and health which isn't really my cup of tea, but it was very instructive nonetheless!


    9. In general it was a good book especially for the general audience who may just be getting introduced to the ideas in this book. I enjoyed the sections on the working with the garden more than the sections about the microbiome of our bodies. I was actually disappointed by the sections on the microbiome of our bodies as there was no mention of Bechamps although they talked a lot about Pasteur. In the end I felt as if I hadn't gotten any new information and that there was a lot that could have been [...]


    10. This is the first book I've seen that really stitches together the importance of microbes in both our soils and our bodies. Gives a great overview of the scientists and actors involved in our current understanding of germ theory and health without being too heavy handed. It's not really a "how-to" book, and while a part of me would have liked them to offer like, a specific way to address gut dysbiosis, that's not what they set out to do. I enjoyed it a lot


    11. Excellent writing on the microorganisms in our lives. The book offers a easy-to-understand approach to the science of microbiomes in our soil and in our gut. The authors include some very personal reasons for exploring this field and the connections are solid. I borrowed this book from the library but will be buying it because it has a lot of useful information.


    12. Absolutely amazing. Changed the way that I looked at the world around me. I love going small (microbial), both in relation to learning about gardening and the human body. Amazing, and well written.


    13. This book is an eye-opening look about the microbes in our soil and inside us. Most everyone knows there are lots of microbes in and around us, but to learn how they work, how critical they are, and how we are disrupting various systems is important. Good read!


    14. Simple but fascinating! My favorite kind of science. Now I get to add "Soil nutrient depletion" to my list of Things About The Future I'm Worried About.


    15. This book explores the importance of microbes to the higher plants and animals. The authors start with their efforts to improve their garden soil through the addition of organic matter as a basis for examining the archaea, bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses.Early chapters review our discovery and improving understanding of microbes through the work of Linnaeus, van Leeuwenhoek, Pasteur, Carl Woese, and finally Margulis who showed that modern plants and animals are the result of mergers with b [...]


    16. So we hear we should eat organic, take probiotics, eat less meat, eat our vegetables but why and how exactly will this improve our health? Isn't it all just another a trend? And why is organic farming and no-tillage agriculture better than chemical fertilizers? And why is "conventional" farming so entrenched in our culture? If you've ever wondered about any of questions, this book is for you. It is definitely dense for non-biologists, like myself, but fascinating. The way the book is put togethe [...]


    17. This book is packed with useful information and is well researched, including extensive referencing at the end. It begins by addressing soil biology as told by David, but then pivots and explores the microbiome using Anne's voice. Both topics are broached through personal experience narrative but the information is FAR from anecdotal. Instead it takes very deep dives bordering on the over-detailed, and then pulls back a bit, challenging you to learn along with them without the struggle of taking [...]


    18. Outstanding description of past and present microbial ecology related to plants and humans, with practical motivations (gradening; health). The authors explain the many similarities among plants and animals via the unseen and just-being-discovered world of micro- and macro ecologies. Valuable for anyone who cares about our world, or ourselves. Very readable, excellent metaphors to bring key points home, some interesting histories of how we got 'here' (to chemical-dependent industrial agriculture [...]


    19. Many books seek to change perspectives. Many books achieve a semblance of such a change. However, this book has truly changed my life.Already given over to the idea of the benefits of growing one’s own food in an organic and sustainable method, “The Hidden Half of Nature” has given me a language and thought-frame for why such a lifestyle is important—not only for the health of the earth but for human health. I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy read and although I am aware that m [...]


    20. 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.



    21. At times I was not a fan of the writing style, but provides a great overview of taxonomy and explanation of biological processes




    22. 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 gardenin [...]


    23. A popular-science overview of what we currently understand about the symbiotic relationships between the microbial world and the visible world, including plant and animal health, this is a quick and informative read that will definitely have something new to teach you if, like me, you last took a science class a couple of decades ago. The authors are a husband and wife team - he a geologist, she a biologist - who each write one of the book's two sections, the first focused on soil science and th [...]


    24. I really enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit, although for me unlike other reviewers on here it seems this book had so much information that for me was somewhat technical that I had a bit of trouble reading itself, and some sections I just had to skim over. This book interested me more than others on the topic because of the authors using their garden as a way to better understand the role of microbes and their role and then later on, cancer as a way to transition to different habitats of [...]


    25. The novel thesis of the book is that microbes making up "microbiomes" are crucial in our health and in the health of soil and the plants we eat. A review mentioned that the two authors, husband and wife, alternate in taking the lead on the chapters. But I remember only one chapter that was written in the first person by the wife who had just been diagnosed with cancer. The book sunk a bit too much for me into New Age-y-ness and the description of our immune system was a bit too tedious. But if y [...]


    26. This is an absolutely fascinating book that marries human and environmental microbial ecology and looks at the roots of health for our bodies and the planet. The authors build a fascinating story about how many fields have discovered microbial ecology via agricultural sciences and immunology. My only argument it's this book is that I feel as though it could have used a little more editing in the middle of the book. Some of the immunological detail and historical trivia got a bit drawn out and ov [...]


    27. This book fascinated me because I knew so little about the subject and learned so much. It gets "into the weeds" at times (haha), but pulls back out often to draw conclusions and explain why various discoveries along the way are important to plant and ultimately human health. It's well written and flows easily between the two authors' first person voices. I already eat pretty well, but I expect to improve my eating and health habits even more after reading this. I recommend it to everyone who co [...]


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