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Topsoil and Civilization
 
by
Vernon Gill Carter
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Topsoil and Civilization

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  10 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Unknown Binding, 292 pages
Published January 1st 1974 by University of Oklahoma Press
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Richard Reese
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Outside the entrance of the glorious Hall of Western History are the marble lions, colorful banners, and huge stone columns. Step inside, and the popular exhibits include ancient Egypt, classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, Gutenberg, Magellan, Columbus, Galileo, and so on. If we cut a hole in the fence, and sneak around to the rear of the building, we find the dumpsters, derelicts, mangy dogs, and environmental history.

The Darwin of environmental history was George Perkins Marsh,
...more
Adam
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Adam by: E.F. Schumacher
Edit: David Montgomery's Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations is essentially an update of this book. It includes all of the important points from Topsoil, leaves out many of its redundancies, and goes on to explore hundreds of pages of great expansions of the thesis. Topsoil was great, but I would say that anyone interested in its content would be best served by jumping straight to Montgomery's superior text. /Edit

I figured out something about the relationship between the geographical procession
...more
Tomek
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
My real rating would be 2.5.

An interesting historical look at how the rise and fall of civilizations can be attributed to how they treat the environment upon which they depend. Carter goes into great detail explaining examples of past civilizations relation to soil. This detail can become tedious at times. It doesn't take long to get a sense of the general trend. The numerous anecdotes become repetitive and not altogether interesting. My biggest qualm is that the entire book is focused on Europe
...more
Michelle
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, plants
This mini-book will change the way you think of farming and land utilization. Even with its short length and accessible writing style, however, somewhere in the fourth or fifth portrait of a great civilization toppled by its misuse of land, it begins to feels repetitive. Definitely could have used a better editor.
Greg
Sep 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Fascinating but tiring. It's short, but it's still repetitive.
Amber
Sep 09, 2008 added it
An interesting overview of the history of bad land use. The overall concepts are very current. The details are sometimes a bit outdated. A good read.
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