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The Ground Beneath Us

From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are

Regular Price $2.99

Regular Price $3.99 CAD

Regular Price $2.99

Regular Price $3.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 21, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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On Sale

Mar 21, 2017

Page Count

320 Pages




When a teaspoon of soil contains millions of species, and when we pave over the earth on a daily basis, what does that mean for our future? What is the risk to our food supply, the planet’s wildlife, the soil on which every life-form depends? How much undeveloped, untrodden ground do we even have left?

Paul Bogard set out to answer these questions in The Ground Beneath Us, and what he discovered is astounding. From New York (where more than 118,000,000 tons of human development rest on top of Manhattan Island) to Mexico City (which sinks inches each year into the Aztec ruins beneath it), Bogard shows us the weight of our cities’ footprints. And as we see hallowed ground coughing up bullets at a Civil War battlefield; long-hidden remains emerging from below the sites of concentration camps; the dangerous, alluring power of fracking; the fragility of the giant redwoods, our planet’s oldest living things; the surprises hidden under a Major League ballpark’s grass; and the sublime beauty of our few remaining wildest places, one truth becomes blazingly clear: The ground is the easiest resource to forget, and the last we should.

Bogard’s The Ground Beneath Us is deeply transporting reading that introduces farmers, geologists, ecologists, cartographers, and others in a quest to understand the importance of something too many of us take for granted: dirt. From growth and life to death and loss, and from the subsurface technologies that run our cities to the dwindling number of idyllic Edens that remain, this is the fascinating story of the ground beneath our feet.

What's Inside

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Praise for The Ground Beneath Us

"A beautiful call for deeper physical, intellectual, and emotional connections between people and Earth. Paul Bogard eloquently describes the roots of culture and ecology, and the importance of the many forms of 'ground' and soil for our collective future."—David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and the Pulitzer finalist, The Forest Unseen; Professor of Biology, University of the South
"An intriguing examination of the ground, which 'holds the wild world in place'.... environmental journalist Bogard contributes an expert if unsettling account of the 'living ground.' In the author's expansive view, the ground is whatever lies under our feet, and he explores the many ways humans exploit it until, ultimately, they pave it.... insightful, wide-ranging."—Kirkus
"Bogard considers both built landscapes and more natural ones in this diverse and engaging discussion on dirt. Examining urban areas such as New York City, he looks at "what's gone missing, what remains, what may come to be." The soil is "a trove of biodiversity" that we have yet to fully explore, and Bogard chats with an array of experts to learn how to dig deeper."

Publishers Weekly
"A whopper of a cautionary tale... Beyond ecological concerns, Bogard asserts that pavement disconnects us from nature, making the land seem homogeneous and undermining our well-being. The fragility of the life-giving earth we call dirt is the fragility of us all."—Booklist
"Bogard reminds us of the riches underfoot, from New York's Central Park soil biome, which teems with thousands of freshly discovered species, to terrestrial pitstops that keep migrating birds on the wing."—Nature
"With lively and deeply personal prose, Bogard unlocks the secret world of earth itself: from the startling biodiversity of soil, to hallowed sites like Gettysburg and New York's World Trade Center, to all that is sacred and profane we ask the ground to hold.... This is a gorgeous--and very important--book. Once you've read it, you won't walk, stand, or sway the same way again."—Bookish
"Mind-blowing.... For the science-minded, this book is a dream and conservationists will want to share, share, share. If you're curious about what's underfoot or under-pavement, The Ground Beneath Us will keep you rooted in your chair."—Terri Schlichenmeyer, Long View Daily News
Praise for The End of Night

Shortlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

Finalist, Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

Chosen as one of Gizmodo's Best Books of 2013

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, Nonfiction: Editors' Pick, July 2013

2014 Nautilus Award Silver Winner
"A lyrical, far-reaching book. Part elegy, part call-to-arms, The End of Night feels like an essential addition to the literature of nature." -- Boston Globe
"A moving, poetic, immersive, multifaceted, and thought-provoking study... Terrific." -- Publishers Weekly
"[Bogard] offers delightful insights from experts on the activities of nature during the night.... Bogard will leave readers in awe of darkness and in admiration of his book." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"It's impossible to read it without feeling the impulse to set out for the spaces beyond the city limits and spread out a blanket under the stars." -- Columbus Dispatch
"Absorbing... The End of Night delivers a forceful...critique of our overexposed world." -- Wall Street Journal
"A hymn to vanished darkness. A literary journey. This is a rich book. As you read it, you too will want to reclaim the night and perhaps rediscover the heavens of the Enlightenment." -- Nature
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