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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World [Kindle Edition]

William Bryant Logan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The author of Dirt and Oak brings to life this quickest, most sustaining, most communicative element of the earth.


Air sustains the living. Every creature breathes to live, exchanging and changing the atmosphere. Water and dust spin and rise, make clouds and fall again, fertilizing the dirt. Twenty thousand fungal spores and half a million bacteria travel in a square foot of summer air. The chemical sense of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s awareness of its mother’s breast—all take place in the medium of air.



Ignorance of the air is costly. The artist Eva Hesse died of inhaling her fiberglass medium. Thousands were sickened after 9/11 by supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought in part because we fill the air with industrial dusts. With the passionate narrative style and wide-ranging erudition that have made William Bryant Logan’s work a touchstone for nature lovers and environmentalists, Air is—like the contents of a bag of seaborne dust that Darwin collected aboard the Beagle—a treasure trove of discovery.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Air is... a spore-world of essays, essaylets, mini-biographies, gossip, whispers, lists, prose-poems and asides. ...Cheery, chatty and compulsively curious, Mr. Logan is able to draw the reader into pretty much any subject... In this lovely book, Mr. Logan makes the air airy again.” (Robert Macfarlane - Wall Street Journal)

About the Author

William Bryant Logan is a Quill & Trowel Award-winning writer, a member of the faculty at the New York Botanical Garden, a sought-after lecturer and teacher, and a practicing arborist. He is the author of Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2199 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 039306798X
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (August 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007HXFDKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
(7)
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AIR April 22, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a pilot, hang glider pilot, sailor, mushroom hunter and outdoors man, AIR had a lot in it for me. Explanations are clear and straight forward. (Even I could understand almost everything.) And you don't have to read it in the order it is written. Skip around and you'll still enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book February 15, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some of the chapters are a little slow and it was a streach relating them to air but over all I liked it. I loved his book, "dirt" and I will read oak in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Air: the most powerful element? March 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Liked this book that was the monthly selection of the [...] and found Logan's writing very effective, the book was incredibly well researched.

It's chock full of anecdotes, scientific data, and opinion. This is a complex subject, and with his in-depth treatment, you will find yourself much better educated about the subject matter. We live on an incredible planet, and it all rests on a foundation of air!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical popular science book November 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is such a wonderful book that I completely understand why the New York Times Book Review chose it as a "Notable Book" of the year. This is science woven into life and reflections on life, and written with a poet's enjoyment of language and using language to evoke an experience.

Air was simply a delight to read. I also learned things I hadn't known (like the origin of the phrase "beeline" - bees are determined and focussed flyers) and had some of my assumptions shaken up a bit. I love when a book can do that.

Part of what made the book so accessible was William Logan's use of his personal experiences. Then he'd reflect on them, and on occasion, widen them out to philosophical musing.

"Active, responsive, not reactive. These are the qualities of a good pilot. You must give up assumptions and live alert to the slightest nuance that comes into the five senses, responding not as your supposed self, but as your wings. It doesn't sound like a bad way to live: without complaint, fantasy, or demands, but in conversation with the moment." pp.190-91

"A person wears so many grooves (habits) during a long life that eventually the deep-worn grooves begin to dig a grave." p.216

Overall, the "Air" read to me like an appreciation of life and a challenge to adventure. Pretty good for a science book.
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