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The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms
 
 
Author
Amy Stewart.
Publisher Algonquin  
Format paperback
ISBN 9781565124684
Pages/Publication Date 221/2005
Daedalus Item Code 29111
List Price: $12.95
Sale Price: $7.95
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Description
In a witty, offbeat style, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure and introduces us to our planet's most important groundskeeper, 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 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."—Boston Globe

"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."—NYTimes

"Even Charles Darwin found the lowly earthworm fascinating: all their tiny individual labors in tilling the soil and nourishing it with their droppings add up over time to a massive collective impact on the landscape. In this absorbing, if occasionally gross, treatise, gardening journalist Stewart delves into their dank subterranean world, detailing their problem-solving skills, sex lives (Darwin noted their 'sexual passion') and shocking ability to re-grow a whole body from a severed segment (scientists have even sutured together parts of three different earthworms into a single Frankenworm). Intriguing in their own right, earthworms stand at the fulcrum of the balance of nature. In the wrong place, they can devastate forests, but in the right place, they boost farm yields, suppress pests and plant diseases, detoxify polluted soils and process raw sewage into inoffensive fertilizer; indeed, humanity's first great civilizations may have risen on the backs of earthworms, say some of the creature's most fervent champions. Stewart writes in a charming, meditative but scientifically grounded style that is informed by her personal relationship with the worms in her compost bin. In her telling, worms become metaphors—for the English working class, for the process of scientific rumination, for the redemption of death and decay by life and fertility—and serve as a touchstone for exploring the ecological view of things."—Publishers Weekly

 
 
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