Air : The Restless Shaper of the World


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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.

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  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 139.7 x 208.28 x 27.94mm | 294.83g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0393345394
  • 9780393345391
  • 536,912

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"[A] delightful Wunderkammer of a book... 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 "Logan is an enjoyable companion with which to explore his subject. He is erudite and thoughtful, with an agreeable mix of the personal and scientific" -- David B. Williams "Starred review. Logan's meticulously researched and engagingly presented treatise is a breath of, well, fresh air." -- Carol Haggas "Splendid... Logan delivers vast amounts of science with brevity and elegance."

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About William Bryant Logan

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.

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