Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2011
Publication Date: 4/25/2011
Citation: Sauer, T.J. 2011. Soil and Culture. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75:1175.
Technical Abstract: Editors Ed Landa and Christian Feller have assembled an international ensemble cast of writers, artists, historians, philosophers, and scientists of broad perspective to create a book of truly fascinating reading for any soils enthusiast. When so little we see in print is truly new or original, Soil and Culture is most decidedly both. In their introduction Landa and Feller spell out their desire to produce a cultural history of soil and an expansive one at that; one that spans time and subject to explore “the perception of soil in ancient, traditional, and modern societies”. One key feature of Soil and Culture that separates it from all the others is that most chapter authors are not soil scientists. Landa and Feller intentionally sought to include perspectives from individuals outside the formal training and practice of soil science but yet intimate with and appreciative of soil through their personal experience. Soil and Culture abounds in rich examples of human interaction with soils from which we can draw examples and inspiration to improve interaction with audiences outside our peer groups and our profession. It also offers the reader opportunity to expand and enrich their own personal knowledge of and appreciation for the varied, human aspects of soils beyond the traditional realms of biology, chemistry, and physics. Such a growth in appreciation of soils, even and perhaps especially among soil scientists, will be necessary if there is indeed to be a lengthy and fruitful soil science renaissance.