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Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind Paperback – August 30, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Common sense and just the right amount of folksy humor make this treatise on feces a pleasure to read whether or not you've ever knowingly come within 50 miles of a compost heap. Logsdon writes for a wide scope: how to recognize a manure spreader for those who don't know; the finer points of old-fashioned pitchfork tines, for readers who actually use them. In addition to lots of clear DIY instructions for utilizing waste, Logsdon, a blogging farmer in Ohio, draws from his boyhood experience during the days of the privy, his Amish neighbors, and his understanding of how ancient China saw agricultural productivity rates the likes of which we've never had in the U.S. Ultimately, the real coup here is that this book overcomes the yuck factor and illustrates how, as with many things American, we've taken a natural, healthy, efficient system and replaced it with something expensive, toxic, and marketable - in this case, chemical fertilizers. As food locavores gain visibility and popularity, so too should the rear end of sustainable farming practices.
“Holy Shit is a national treasure, a book so right it rings the Liberty Bell on every other page. What carries this book along is how Logsdon disarms you with his wit, his country charm, and his experience—this book would mean next to nothing had it come from a research department at a university. However, reading about Gene on his family’s farm, spreading manure on the fields, or putting down additional bedding in the chicken coop, makes his answers to our wrongly perceived problems seem like the only answers. I can see many, many people taking issue with what Logsdon has written, and if he didn’t have experience—both his own and human history dating back thousands of years—Logsdon might be banished to the outhouse. However, history is with Logsdon, and we would all do well to get to know manure a little more intimately. Who would have thought our salvation could come through shit?”--Todd Simmons, MatterDaily
"In the revolution Gene Logsdon envisions, we need pitchforks, but not to mount the barricades. And what a joyful, reverent, irreverent, hard-working, down-to-earth, realistic, Whitmanesque, animal-loving, microbe-nurturing, compost-making, farmer-sensical, manure-pitching revolution it is!"--Woody Tasch, author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered
"In our family we have a standard joke that every conversation, even around the dinner table, eventually winds up about manure. And Gene Logsdon, in his naughty and inimical style, has captured the essence of soil building, pathogen control, food ecology, and farm economics by explaining the elegantly simple symbiosis between manure and carbon. What a great addition to the eco-food and farming movement. Logsdon's deep bedding approach for livestock housing, elegantly explained and defended, is the primary fertility engine that drives all of us beyond organic farmers. Read and heed."--Joel Salatin, Author of You Can Farm and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer
"With a combination of deep knowledge, longtime farming experience, and great humor, Gene Logsdon tells us everything we don't know about human and animal wastes, and what to do about it. As the author writes, 'Sooner or later we have to live in the same world as our colons.' Not to mention the wastes of all the animals we raise for food! This is the book to read if you give a crap about crap."--Sim Van der Ryn, Author of The Toilet Papers
"No one knows more about the backside of agriculture (and the front side, and everything in between) than Gene Logsdon, truly one of the shrewdest practitioners and wisest observers of farming and agriculture. He doesn't care much for social taboos or politeness, and challenges us to see land, animals, ourselves, and yeah, shit, as parts of one system--whole and undefiled--and maybe discover the Holy in the excremental. This is Logsdon at his best; Holy Shit is a national treasure."--David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, and Senior Adviser to the President, Oberlin College
"This could very well be one of the most important books ever written. Few people realize that the subject of excrement is so critically important, complex, and timely. Thankfully, Gene Logsdon has provided humanity with a literary gift that addresses this most basic and fundamental subject with wisdom, humor, poetry and reverence. Holy Shit belongs in every bathroom in every home. The book is great. I love it."--Joseph Jenkins, Author of The Humanure Handbook
"Gene Logsdon is one of only three people I know who are able to make a living exclusively out of writing what should be common sense. Here he has done it again."--Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute
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Top Customer Reviews
My favorite though is using humanure for compost .... GREAT idea.
Plants pull nutrients out of the soil. Every time a crop is hauled out, the soil loses nutrients. If those nutrients are not replaced, the soil become nutrient deficient, and the food grown in the soil also is less nutritious, leading to nutritional deficiency diseases. There are 84 essential minerals in our soil and about 20 vitamins. Plants can make vitamins but, cannot make minerals, the minerals have to be in our soil.
Human excrement is very rich in minerals. When humanure is decomposed and returned to the soil, the nutrients are returned to the soil as well. When these nutrients are constantly added back in, the life cycle goes on like a wheel. The plants always have the right amount of nutrients therefore, the food is not nutrient deficient, leading to reduced nutritional deficiency diseases in the people who eat this food.
In America, we only add three nutrients into our crops. Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. We are literally flushing the other 81 minerals into the sewer, along with our health.
Overall a GREAT book to read on the crapper!
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Overall the book was a lot of fun and I enjoyed reading it. I really enjoyed Gene Logsdon's writing style. My only complaint would be the emphasis he puts on dry toilets and outhouses, without the realization that this would be hard to do in urban areas, especially in condos or apartment buildings. A lot of his ideas are only feasible in a farming or rurual community and it would have been since to see some urban ideas.
Definitely worth reading, even if you're not a farmer or someone interested in manure.
The author has a very witty way of getting his point across regarding poop of virtually every kind. After all everything poops or farts or burps. The dilemma of late has been all about green house gasses & CFO's (Factory Farms where the animals pretty much stand knee deep in their own waste - enjoy your steak yum!).
Our disgust with our food system is one of the reasons why we try to avoid supporting it! We support local family farms as much as possible for the products we don't produce on our own small family farm. A good point made in the book that hit home - not to let people like myself get caught up in creating our own little "oasis" of better animal management & land management (both include poop of course) & ignore what is happening in the outside world. After all some people are in concrete jungles, or most simply don't have a couple of acres they can compost on without pissing off their doodie offended neighbors.
We have been composting for years now. We just have various piles. No temp checks or anything else. We don't have the time. However we never compost our cats waste or our own except for when the men pee outside. It's time to change that!
Thankfully this book discusses the taboo our society has in using cat/dog/human waste on our food & flowers. He provides enough information to enlighten the reader at how silly or as he puts it "insane" humans are. We behave as if crap is a vile evil thing that must hurriedly be flushed away as if it never happened! Why do we do that? Yeah it smells but it's not going to jump up and try to kill us! As a society we really do act strangely when it comes to certain types of feces especially our own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A nice little book outlining the virtues of manure in plant culture and use and value of this product in agriculture. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John A. Leraas
Everything had hoped to learn about manure and more! Logsdon has a magnificent knack for making any subject come alive and never leaves me disappointed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John C. Lorson
I seen nothing Holly about this book. So the name throws me off for staters. There are No diagrams, a few drawings of tractors and animals, No photos of what he's actually taking... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Perry S
Have you seen the movie Martian? I knew what he needed to do before it happened on the screen because I read this book. Scientific yet readable. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sue Smith
Written by a "real live farmer," this book is full of useful and wittily-written knowledge on the subject matter. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christina D.
Enjoying the different perspective on manure of all types. First exposure to deep bedding process.Published 7 months ago by OtterMe
Everyone should read this book.
We defecate in our drinking water, dairy farms are forced by regulation to create giant cesspools and to spend a quarter million dollars on... Read more