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An engaging and compelling argument for implementing regenerative farming practices.

An examination of the link between soil health and human health.

In this follow-up to The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, Montgomery and Biklé explain that we are suffering from micronutrient malnutrition. “Far too many of us remain poorly nourished despite eating more than enough food,” they write, noting the primary causes involve conventional farming practices. The authors explain the ways that these methods, including tillage and use of commercial fertilizers, disrupt the necessary, healthy symbiosis between plants and the soil. “We traded away quality in pursuit of quantity as modernized farming chased higher yields,” they write, “overlooking a farmer’s natural allies in the soil.” Alternatively, they contend, regenerative farming practices build organic matter and help maintain the fertility of the soil over a longer period of time. As in their previous book, Montgomery and Biklé offer highly readable prose, extensive research, and convincing evidence, including pertinent information on farms that have successfully implemented regenerative practices. They also share test results from gathered soil and crop samples indicating healthier soil and higher nutrient density. “Farming systems that create and maintain high levels of soil organic matter work like a savings account,” they write, “storing nutrients from one growing season to the next for the use of subsequent crops.” Another difference the authors witnessed between conventional and regenerative farming techniques is the no-till method’s greater capacity for holding water and preventing soil erosion. They take readers on a fascinating tour of a wheat mill in Washington state that bred wheat for flavor while utilizing organic techniques and point to a study that shows how wheat loses almost three-quarters of its vitamins and minerals when milled into white flour. Further, the authors explore the health benefits of consuming a diet rich in nutrients, particularly phytochemicals, from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, which include reduced risks of dental problems, birth defects, and infectious and chronic diseases.

An engaging and compelling argument for implementing regenerative farming practices.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-324-00453-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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