The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (Paperback)
"Sure to become a game-changing guide to the future of good food and healthy landscapes." —Dan Barber, chef and author of The Third Plate
Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals why good health—for people and for plants—depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. Restoring life to their barren yard and recovering from a health crisis, David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé discover astounding parallels between the botanical world and our own bodies. From garden to gut, they show why cultivating beneficial microbiomes holds the key to transforming agriculture and medicine.
About the Author
David R. Montgomery is a Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He studies the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He received his B.S. in geology at Stanford University (1984) and his Ph.D. in geomorphology from UC Berkeley (1991). Current research includes field projects in the Philippines, eastern Tibet, and the Pacific Northwest of North America. In 2008 Montgomery received a MacArthur Fellowship. His books, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, King of Fish, and The Rocks Don’t Lie have all won the Washington State Book Award in General Nonfiction. Montgomery’s Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson award for Literary Science Writing. His latest work with W. W. Norton, What Your Food Ate: How to Heal Our Land and Reclaim our Health, published in 2022.
Anne Biklé is a biologist and environmental planner. Her career spans the fields of environmental stewardship, habitat restoration, and public health. The Hidden Half of Nature is her first book.
A great read, opening up for nonscientists the microbial world that underlies all life. You will see your body and the world around you in exciting new ways.
— Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation
Reads like a fast-paced novel but tells the true story of the workings of soils, and even our own bodies.
— Neil Shubin, author of The Universe Within
[A] transformative read.
— Tom Philpott - Mother Jones
[A] beautifully synthesized scientific memoir.
— Barbara Kiser - Nature
Montgomery and Biklé argue that when we farm and when we eat, we’re feeding a diverse community of microorganisms. This book is sure to become a game-changing guide to the future of good food and healthy landscapes.
— Dan Barber, chef and author of The Third Plate
An ingenious idea! The Hidden Half of Nature draws a straight line from the microbes that live in healthy soil to those that live in healthy guts, skillfully blending the personal and the scientific. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with their own health.
— Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist
Amazingly detailed and well-researched. … [The Hidden Half of Nature] lays out the beautiful connection between the microbial garden in our bodies and the microbial garden in the Earth.
— Sally Peterson - Oregon Live
One of the year’s best books on gardens and health.
— Jim McCausland - Sunset Magazine
The Hidden Half of Nature offers a wonderfully fresh and exquisitely informed approach that could change how we relate to ourselves, our diets, our gardens and our world.
— Tim McNulty - Seattle Times
A stunningly clever book that connects the tiny dots of the microbial world. I will never ignore my microbes again.
— Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
A wonderful read! The Hidden Half of Nature not only explores the workings of the microbial world, but also the people and the methods used to advance our knowledge of it.
— Jeff Lowenfels, author of the Teaming With series