Synopses & Reviews
“Engrossing” (The Christian Science Monitor
), “fascinating” (TimeOut New York
), “delightfully nuanced” (Entertainment Weekly
), “terrific” (New York Newsday
), “inspiring” (Bust
magazine). “You know a book is good when you actually welcome one of those howling days of wind and sleet that makes going out next to impossible” (The New York Times
The Earth Moved has moved reviewers across the country. In witty, offbeat style, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure and introduces us to our planet’s most important gatekeeper: the humble earthworm. It’s true that the earthworm is small, spineless, and blind, but its effect on the ecosystem is profound,moving Charles Darwin to devote his last years to studying its remarkable attributes and achievements.
With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the earthworm’s astonishing realm, talks to oligochaetologists who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex web of life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. Stewart’s “ease in gliding from worms to plants to humans will remind readers of John McPhee’s essays on canoes, oranges, the geology of America” (Providence Journal). “Stewart’s book paddles along in [Rachel] Carson’s wake. Read her book and you’ll start to see how the rhododendron bed in front of your house is a kind of Mars for frontier science” (The Boston Globe).
"An admirable portrait of that tireless ploughman: the earthworm...A nifty piece of natural history. Earthworms of the world can stand a little taller."
—Kirkus Reviews The New York Times
"You know a book is good when you actually welcome one of those howling days of wind and sleet that makes going out next to impossible”
—The New York Times
In the tradition of Michael Pollan, Mark Kurlansky and Sue Hubbell, the first single-topic natural history book on this unsung hero of our ecosystem.
In the tradition of the bestselling book The Botany of Desire comes this fascinating exploration of the world underground and one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its role in the ecosystem is profound. It tills the soil, destroys microscopic organisms that cause plant disease, breaks down toxins, and turns soil into rich compost, creating the most fertile areas on earth. In her witty and offbeat style, Amy Stewart shows just how much depends on the humble worm. The august Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, admiring their remarkable achievements. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures, he declared. With Darwin as her inspiration, Stewart weaves her own backyard investigations with those of the obsessed oligochaetologists, unearthing the complex life that exists beneath our feet. From the legendary giant Australian worm that burrows up to fifteen feet below ground to the modest nightcrawler that inspired Darwin to write his last book to Stewart's energetic red wigglers, The Earth Moved gives worms their due and exposes their hidden--and extraordinary--universe.
In The Earth Moved
, Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?
In her witty, offbeat style, Stewart shows that much depends on the actions of the lowly worm. Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, praising their remarkable abilities. With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the worm's subterranean realm, talks to oligochaetologists--the unsung heroes of earthworm science--who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. From the legendary giant Australian worm that stretches to ten feet in length to the modest nightcrawler that wormed its way into the heart of Darwin's last book to the energetic red wigglers in Stewart's compost bin, The Earth Moved gives worms their due and exposes their hidden and extraordinary universe. This book is for all of us who appreciate Mother Nature's creatures, no matter how humble.
About the Author
Amy Stewart's last book, The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, won the California Horticultural Society's Writer's Award for 2005, was a featured selection of the Discovery Channel Book Club, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Jose Mercury News. Her articles appear regularly in Organic Gardeningand the San Francisco Chronicle. The recipient of a 2006 National Endowment of the Arts for Literature Fellowship, Stewart lives in northern California.