Cover image for Out of the earth : civilization and the life of the soil
Out of the earth : civilization and the life of the soil
Hillel, Daniel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [1991]

Physical Description:
x, 321 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
S591 .H62 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A moving tribute to the physical and spiritual properties of nature's richestelement by one of the world's leading soil conservationists.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Can the loss of soil fertility so affect a civilization that it ceases to exist? Yes, says Hillel, professor of soil physics at the University of Massachusetts. In this readable and easily accessible book, he begins by exploring ancient cultures to show that, far from being modern afflictions only, destructive farming practices and deforestation have been occurring with regularity for thousands of years. From Sumeria to Australia to China to America, Hillel impressively documents his thesis with example after example. More than a scholarly accounting, this book is passionate in its defense of the earth and the need for wise stewardship of its resources. Recommended.-- Randy Dykhuis, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hillel teaches soil physics and has authored several books on climate and conservation. The 30 chapters in this new book begin with an introduction to the role of soil in the ecosystem; then address humankind's historical uses and abuses of soil, from the earliest civilizations to the advent of chemical fertilizers. Finally, consideration turns to problems of the present as Hillel examines situations throughout the world that threaten the life-sustaining properties of soils. In a call for conservation, Hillel ends on a note of timorous optimism. Included are a 10-page index, 15 pages of notes, and an informative and current 10-page bibliography. Although Hillel tells a cautionary tale, he is never despairing or emotional, but writes in an even tone that is neither dull nor exciting. It is a fascinating book and should be made available in undergraduate academic, community college, and public libraries. -H. N. Cunningham Jr., Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College