Friday, November 27, 2015

Timothy Cheek's "The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History"

Timothy Cheek began studying China at the Australian National University in the 1970s and has traveled to China and worked with Chinese colleagues since 1981. After receiving his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1986 he taught in the US until 2002 when he took up the Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research at the University of British Columbia.

Cheek applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History, and reported the following:
Page 99 of The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History ends with this quote:
“If the intellectuals still loll about in the relaxed atmosphere of the cities and the foreign concessions, then they will not make revolution.”
Mao Zedong? Some Chinese anarchist or other Bolshevik? No, the words of Liang Shuming, noted as “China’s last Confucian.” The page focuses on the 1920s and 30s, about a third of a way through the arc of the book that maps the words and deeds of Chinese intellectuals who tried to shape public life from 1895-2015.

This page has the story of two Liangs—Liang Qichao the famous reforming journalist of the early 1900s, now disillusioned with the West after visiting the devastation of post Great War Europe, and Liang Shuming, whom I present as a revolutionary conservative seeking many of the goals we associate with Mao and the rural revolution of the Communists, but Liang set up his rural revolution on Confucian principles. Liang Shuming would meet with Mao in Yan’an, the Communist’s rural capital, in the late 1930s, and before that he would join forces with trans-Pacific Chinese liberal James Yen in promoting science and education in the villages in a joint Rural Reconstruction Movement.

Two themes of the broader story appear on page 99. First, While China’s intellectuals were understandably focused on fixing China—then at a low point of ill-governance, poverty, and domination by imperial powers—they looked not only to the new and the West, but also to native resources (and not simply “tradition”) as well as other Asian examples, notably from India. Second, by the 1920s reformers and revolutionaries alike accepted that rural China had to be a focus of their efforts. There lived the vast majority of Chinese and for some, like Liang and Mao in their different ways, there breathed the best virtues of Chinese civilization.

Both Liangs on page 99 reflect the dynamism and range of choices, as well as terrifying challenges, confronting Chinese intellectuals in the decades between Empire and Socialist State.
Learn more about The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ginger Strand's "The Brothers Vonnegut"

Ginger Strand grew up in Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, but mostly on a farm in Michigan. She is the author of one novel and three books of narrative nonfiction, including Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate. She has published essays and fiction in many places, including Harper's, The Believer, Tin House, The Iowa Review, The New England Review and the New York Times, as well as This Land and Orion, where she is a contributing editor. In addition to writing frequently about collisions between nature, culture, science and the arts, Strand frequently works with photographers, and has contributed essays to photography books by Lisa Kereszi, Kyler Zeleny, and the Magnum Agency project Postcards from America.

Strand applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic, and reported the following:
On page 99 of The Brothers Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut is feeling frustrated at his PR job at General Electric. His brother Bernard, a brilliant scientist, is making headlines at GE with his startling new project: weather control. Kurt is trying hard to be a good company man, while trying to write marketable short stories at night and on weekends. But his efforts are only getting him a stack of rejection slips. And the position he had hoped would be a safe, easy job to feed his family while he launched his writing career is beginning to feel like a trap.
The new section opens like this:
Kurt was doing his best for GE. But it wasn’t enough to applaud every new gadget or machine the company cooked up as if it would change the world. It wasn’t enough to obey your GE boss and play softball on a GE team and buy your appliances at the GE employee store. The company wanted to tell you how to think too.

Every week or so, a new poster went up, Lemuel Boulware’s florid signature at the bottom. “Why must we SAVE more—as well as PRODUCE more?” “Should pay be equal everywhere?” “What is Communism? What is Capitalism? What is the Difference to You?” You could be sure Mr. Boulware—a.k.a. Mr. Bullwhip—would tell you the answers. He had all the answers, Mr. Bullwhip did. Mr. Bullshit was more like it, at least as Kurt saw it. Boulware’s messages to the employees were unabashedly pro-America and anti-labor.
This is fairly representative of something I was trying to do throughout this book, something I have never done before: write nonfiction from a close-in third-person point of view. I wanted the book to read like a novel, even as it was strictly factual, and fully documented in endnotes. I wanted the reader to feel like she was in Kurt Vonnegut’s head, or Bernard Vonnegut’s head, as the two brothers navigated the moral landscape of America in the new atomic age.
Learn more about the book and author at Ginger Strand's website.

The Page 99 Test: Killer on the Road.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton's "The Con Men"

Terry Williams is a professor of sociology at the New School for Social Research. He specializes in teenage life and culture, drug abuse, crews and gangs, and violence and urban social policy. He is the author of The Cocaine Kids: The Inside Story of a Teenage Drug Ring; The Uptown Kids: Hope and Struggle in the Projects; and Crackhouse: Notes from the End of the Line, and is the founder and director of the Harlem Writers Crew Project, a multimedia approach to urban education for center city and rural youths.

Trevor B. Milton is assistant professor in social sciences at Queensborough Community College, CUNY, and author of Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life: Crime-Engaged Youth and the Programs That Transform Them. His areas of research include prison reform and alternative-to-incarceration programs and the intersectionality of class and racial identity.

Milton applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, The Con Men: Hustling in New York City, and reported the following:
I would say that The Con Men passes Ford Madox Ford’s “page 99 test” (with flying colors, in my opinion!). The Con Men focuses on both Con(fidence) Artists (grifters who have mastered the art of deception) and hustlers (street entrepreneurs who have learned the science of persuasion). Page 99 falls into the middle of the chapter on “Petty Street Hustles,” where hustlers play an intrinsic role in the informal economy of New York City. Terry Williams and I wanted to emphasize that con artists and hustlers are a part of the city (for better or for worse), rather than being a contaminant in it. Hustlers in particular add to the convenience of city living, even if residents are opposed to the legality of their trade. As is said on page 99:
They are fully aware of the petty needs of the average New Yorker, and they appear along commuter pathways and well-worn tourist and weekend walking routes to accommodate vice, habit, and curiosity alike. Maybe you’ve never tried a shawarma, but walk enough sidewalks, and the option will appear; maybe you’ve decided to quit smoking, but a local man selling loosies in front of a bodega has decided otherwise; if it starts raining during your daily commute, someone will reliably be there to sell you a five-dollar umbrella as you exit your train stop.
For those who have ever lived in New York City—or even walked its streets as a tourist—there is something in this book for everyone. New Yorkers try to avoid the traps of con artists; with auto-suspicion of a smiling face asking for “just a minute of your time.” New Yorkers make hustlers a part of their daily commute: whether buying bottled water at a traffic light, a pirated DVD while seated in a restaurant, or an out-of-print magazine while strolling down a sidewalk.

Even though they may be a blessing or a detriment to one’s wallet, con artists and hustlers are fixtures in the New York community (for better or for worse!), and are the life-blood of New York’s character. Also said on the same page:
It is the duty of petty hustlers to make a home on the city streets, whether that’s a card table on a sidewalk or a predetermined route up and down certain city blocks…. Cigarette vendors occupy certain landings on the subway steps. Drug dealers hold down entire bodegas. For their customers, their whereabouts needed to be predictable.
Learn more about The Con Men at the Columbia University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: The Con Men.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Douglas Rogers's "The Depths of Russia"

Douglas Rogers is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Yale University. He is the author of The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture after Socialism, and reported the following:
The Depths of Russia provides a new and different perspective on Russian oil and oil companies, one that unfolds in a single oil-producing region—the Perm region of the Russian Urals—rather than focusing on big-name oligarchs, the Kremlin, or international pipeline politics. The story I tell begins in the early Soviet period, with the discovery of oil near Perm in 1929. It ends with an account of Perm’s oil-fueled attempt to be named a European Cultural Capital in 2009-2012.

On page 99, I am wrapping up my discussion of the early 1990s—the turbulent years right after the end of the Soviet Union—and comparing some of what unfolded then to the politics and economics of oil at other times and places. One of the most interesting and distinctive things about this period is that crude oil and refined oil products were generally not sold or exchanged for money. Instead, given the encompassing economic collapse and resulting demonetization, they were bartered—exchanged directly for everything from barges of sugar to truckloads of timber. This petrobarter, as I call it, turned out to be crucial for the remaking of the Perm region in the post-Soviet period. Petrobarter kept the struggling agricultural sector alive through exchanges of tractor fuel at the time of sowing for crops at the time of harvest. Petrobarter enabled a new, oil-focused regional elite to emerge, even before the privatization of the oil sector. And petrobarter linked regional oil to regional identity in a new and powerful way: by making the exchange of the region’s own oil—and not rubles issued by the federal Russian state—the lynchpin that kept the regional economy afloat in a time of acute crisis. Although comparatively short-lived, petrobarter was absolutely central to the making of the Perm region as an oil region.

We tend to think of oil and money as very tightly entangled. Post-Soviet petrobarter shows that this is not always the case. It is just one of the ways in which the story of Permian oil expands our understanding of oil’s place in the shaping of human lives and possibilities.
Learn more about The Depths of Russia at the Cornell University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Michael J. Lansing's "Insurgent Democracy"

Michael J. Lansing is Associate Professor of History at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. A historian of the modern United States, his research focuses on the North American West and Midwest, political history, environmental history, and gender history. He co-authored The American West: A Concise History and his essays have appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly, Environmental History, the Journal of Historical Geography, the Middle West Review, the Utah Historical Quarterly, and Ethics, Place, and Environment.

Lansing applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest  book, Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics, and reported the following:
In 1915, western and midwestern farmers mounted one of the most significant challenges to party politics America has seen: the Nonpartisan League (NPL), which sought to empower citizens and restrain corporate influence. Before its collapse in the 1920s, the League counted over 250,000 paying members, spread to thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, controlled North Dakota’s state government, and birthed new farmer-labor alliances. Yet today it is all but forgotten, neglected even by scholars.

My book aims to change that. Insurgent Democracy offers a new look at the NPL and a new way to understand its rise and fall in the United States and Canada. I argue that, rather than a spasm of populist rage that inevitably burned itself out, the story of the League is in fact an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Depicting the League as a transnational response to economic inequity, I not only resurrect its story of citizen activism, but also allow us to see its potential to inform contemporary movements.

Page 99 of the book describes the shift in fortunes for the NPL when the United States entered World War I in April 1917. The movement easily fended off attacks by insurance agents, bankers, corporate leaders, and small-town businessmen as it spread across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest during its first year-and-a-half. But NPL members’ complicated stance on U.S. involvement in the European conflict soon rendered it an easy target for all those insisting on absolute loyalty during wartime. In response, the League noted its firm Americanism, but insisted that regular citizens—and not large corporations—should benefit from the war. It held this complicated position in the face of a less-thoughtful surge of patriotism.

In the short-term, this stance proved disastrous. In states such as Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska, local and state governments soon cracked down on the supposedly “disloyal” NPL. They shut down public meetings and arrested NPL organizers. The denial of Leaguers’ civil liberties proved so significant that it helped inspire the creation of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (later renamed the American Civil Liberties Union).

In the long-term, however, the NPL’s stand garnered it important allies—including George Creel, President Woodrow Wilson’s close advisor and head of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (which produced pro-war propaganda for the federal government). It also convinced large numbers of German Americans, many of whom held similarly complicated perspectives on World War I, to join the NPL. Ultimately, the League not only survived, but also went on to influence state and federal politics via its distinct form of citizen politics across the western half of the U.S.—and the Prairie Provinces—before falling apart in the mid-1920s.
Learn more about Insurgent Democracy at the book's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Melinda Baldwin’s "Making 'Nature'"

Melinda Baldwin is a lecturer in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of science, particularly scientific publishing and other forms of scientific communication, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has held fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Situating Science Cluster grant at York University. Baldwin earned her PhD in History from Princeton University, an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University, and a BS from Davidson College.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Making Nature: The History of a Scientific Journal, and reported the following:
Making Nature is about the history and development of Nature—today one of the world’s highest-profile scientific publications. The book follows Nature’s story from its foundation in 1869, through its eventual adoption as a major organ of scientific communication in Britain, and finally into its post-World War II transformation into an internationally renowned scientific journal.

Page 99 of Making Nature happens to be the last page of Chapter 3, “Defining the ‘Man of Science’ in Nature.” The chapter focuses on a period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Nature’s most prominent contributors were using the journal to advance a very specific set of criteria for a true man of science.* Nature’s contributors argued that a man of science had to be someone who devoted his time to original scientific research—a contrast with earlier eras, when the line between “expert” and “layman” was significantly more fluid.

This focus on research created a problem in 1919, when Nature’s publisher Macmillan and Company set out to find a successor for Nature’s founder and first editor, Norman Lockyer. Lockyer’s preferred candidate was his assistant Richard Gregory, but Gregory was not a researcher and could not meet the criteria Nature’s contributors had set forth for a man of science.

Lockyer and the Macmillans eventually decided that Gregory’s knowledge of the journal outweighed his lack of research qualifications. Page 99 finds Gregory thriving as Nature’s editor in the 1920s and 1930s, having successfully carved out a unique role for himself within Britain’s scientific community. He cast himself as science’s emissary, a charming spokesman who could tell British laymen exactly why science was important to their nation.

The chapter and the page end with a question: “Could Nature make a claim to be the world’s leading scientific journal, not just the most prominent British one?” As it turns out, the answer was probably “no” until well after Gregory retired—but those in search of a more complete answer will have to read the rest of the book!

* British scientific researchers preferred to be called “men of science” rather than “scientists,” for reasons I discuss elsewhere in the book, and also in this blog entry for The Renaissance Mathematicus.
Visit Melinda Baldwin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Donald Malcolm Reid's "Contesting Antiquity in Egypt"

Donald Malcolm Reid is author of Whose Pharaohs? Archaeologies, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I and Cairo University and the Making of Modern Egypt, among other works. He is professor emeritus, Georgia State University, and affiliate professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, University of Washington.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Contesting Antiquity in Egypt: Archaeologies, Museums, and the Struggle for Identities from World War I to Nasser, and reported the following:
Ford Madox Ford’s whimsical Page 99 Test seems oddly appropriate for Contesting Antiquity in Egypt, for it calls to mind the Islamic tradition that there are 99 names of God (Allah)—The Compasionate, The Merciful, The Most Holy, etc.

Page 99 of Contesting shows a photo captioned “Imperial archaeology: The Oriental Institute’s Chicago House, Luxor, completed 1931.” Rockefeller money enabled James Henry Breasted, a great Egyptologist who founded the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, to open this magnificently-equipped archaeological field house despite the onset of the Great Depression. Such millionaire philanthropy enabled American archaeologists to outspend their British, French, German, and Italian colleagues in interwar Egypt. Despite Egypt’s nominal independence in 1922, British colonial interference in politics was never far beneath the surface, and the French ran the Antiquities Service for 94 years, down to Nasser’s revolution in 1952.

Traditional accounts highlight the role of European and American archaeologists in discovering and interpreting Egypt's long past. Following up on my earlier Whose Pharaohs? Archaeologies, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I, Contesting Antiquity in Egypt redresses the balance by also highlighting the lives and careers of often-neglected Egyptian specialists. Close attention is paid not only to the contests between westerners and Egyptians over the control of antiquities, but also to passionate debates among Egyptians themselves over pharaonism—popular interest in ancient Egypt-- in relation to Islam and Arabism during a critical period of nascent nationalism. The sensational discovery in 1922 of Tutankhamun's tomb accelerated the growth in Egypt of both Egyptology as a formal discipline and of pharaonism as an inspiration in the struggle for full independence.

As with Whose Pharaohs?, Contesting Antiquity in Egypt is also unusual in examining not only pharaonic, but also Islamic, Coptic, and Greco-Roman archaeologies in Egypt. Each of these four archaeologies gave birth to, and grew up around, a major antiquities museum in Egypt. Later, Cairo, Alexandria, and Ain Shams universities joined in shaping these fields. All four disciplines, as well as the closely related history of tourism, are brought together here in a single framework.
Learn more about Contesting Antiquity in Egypt at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Matthew McCormack’s "Embodying the Militia in Georgian England"

Matthew McCormack has published widely on British history, including his book The Independent Man.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book Embodying the Militia in Georgian England, and reported the following:
Ford Madox Ford had a point. Page 99 may not seem an obvious place to start, but then history books are rarely written sequentially, and this one certainly wasn’t. Page 99 falls in chapter 5, which was one of the first chapters that I wrote, and was the point in the writing process when the project really “clicked”, since it enabled me to figure out what the book was really going to be about.

Chapter 5 is entitled “Training the Militia” and it focuses on the training literature that was produced from the mid-eighteenth century which sought to instruct militiamen how to become soldiers. This was a part-time force, designed to be called out in times of invasion or riot. Since the men and their officers were civilians, and since they met up only occasionally for training in peacetime, a market sprung up for drillbooks that were comprehensible to the amateur.

Reading this literature, it struck me how different these works were to those that were aimed at the regular army. For starters, they were simpler, making the complex process of muzzle-loading a musket easier for the part-timer. They also focused on the challenge of training civilian men. On page 99 I quote William Windham of the Norfolk Militia, who mused that ploughmen “have a slouch in their gait” so require extra training in posture and balance. Most importantly, these manuals suggested that the harsh discipline and robotic drill that regulars received was not appropriate for citizen soldiers. One should not drill out their individuality and humanity, since that is what made them distinct from – and even superior to – professional soldiers.

It was at this point in the book that I stopped focusing simply on representations of the militia, and started to think about the practice of military life: I started to think about issues like embodiment and material culture. So I would like to think that it was round about page 99 that I became a better historian.
Learn more about Embodying the Militia in Georgian England at the Oxford University Press website and Matthew McCormack’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 16, 2015

Stephen L. Moore's "The Battle for Hell's Island"

Stephen L. Moore, a sixth-generation Texan, graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he studied advertising, marketing, and journalism. He is the author of multiple books on World War II and Texas history, including Pacific Payback: The Carrier Fly Boys Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway and Taming Texas, a biography of his great-great-great grandfather William T. Sadler, who was one of the first Texas Ranger captains in the 1830s.

Moore applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Battle for Hell’s Island: How a Small Band of Carrier Dive-Bombers Helped Save Guadalcanal, and reported the following:
Page 99 is a chart of Navy dive bomber crews that made a particular carrier attack and thus does not give the reader a sense of the book as a whole. A reader would be better served to flip back to the “Preface” where I outline the anger and anxiety of pilot Birney Strong. Although he has been highly decorated for valor in actions covered early in the book, he is seeking to reclaim honor and pride to a commander that has come to doubt his courage.

During August 1942, Lieutenant Strong had sighted and reported a Japanese carrier force in the Eastern Solomons. He and wingman then returned to their carrier instead of attacking. It was a decision he regretted for weeks. On the morning of October 26, 1942, he was among the pilots assembled before his stern air group commander. He expected nothing less than dead accuracy and utmost courage this day from his dive-bomber pilots.

From the “Preface”:
“If you are going to miss with your bomb,” the commander barked, “you might as well stay home and let a good pilot take your place.”

The sharp words still sizzled in Lieutenant Birney Strong’s mind as he looked at the perfect scene playing out before him. Fourteen thousand feet below on the blue Pacific surface were the distinctive flat lines of two Japanese aircraft carriers. Birney had a determined calm about him as he briefly eyed the thin white wakes streaming behind the gleaming yellow-hued flight decks far below his dive-bomber.

I couldn’t ask for a better setup, he thought. A dive-bomber pilot’s dream.
Birney Strong is but one of many determined pilots and rear seat gunners who are called upon to help save Guadalcanal in late 1942. It is an island where hellish jungles, tropical diseases, and meager rations wear down the aviators—both mentally and physically—who are called on to fly from a dusty, crushed-coral airstrip known as Henderson Field. The Japanese have aptly nicknamed Guadalcanal Jigoku no Shima—Hell’s Island.
Visit Stephen L. Moore's website.

Writers Read: Stephen L. Moore.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 14, 2015

David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé's "The Hidden Half of Nature"

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies how erosion shapes topography and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. Author of three award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured on NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, and Fox News programs, as well as in documentary films. When not writing or doing geology he plays guitar and piano in the band Big Dirt.

Anne Biklé is a biologist with wide-ranging interests that have led her into watershed restoration, environmental planning, and public health. An invited speaker at universities and national conferences on connections between public health and the built and natural environments, she has also worked extensively with community groups and non-profit organizations on environmental stewardship and urban livability projects. She spends her free time out in the garden with her hands on plants and dirt.

They applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, and reported the following:
The page 99 test seems to work for The Hidden Half of Nature. An illustration with the title “Halo in the Soil” covers about half the page. This is a central theme of the book—that symbiotic relationships involving microbial life drive and sustain more complex life.

We subtitled the section leading up to the illustration, “The Power of Food” for good reason. Food underlies symbiotic relationships between a plant (and a person’s) indigenous microbiota—their microbiome. Plants use the near-insatiable appetite of microbes to their advantage. Through photosynthesis stuck-in-place plants make their own food, carbohydrates. A lot of them. Plants pump some of this food, along with other substances into the soil through their roots. These botanical concoctions are called exudates. When they flow herds of beneficial bacteria and fungi come running, as we write in text accompanying the illustration:
When soil scientists discovered that plants release nutrient-rich exudates into the soil, they were astounded. One review found that root exudates can account for 30 to 40 percent of a plant’s photosynthetic production of carbohydrates! That’s like a farmer setting a third of his harvest at the edge of his field for passersby to take for themselves. Why would plants give away such a bounty?
A plant’s root microbiome gives something in return to the whole plant—molecules and compounds that function as the bedrock of the botanical world’s health strategy. The microbiota that rush to lap up exudates at the surface of a plant’s roots use them to fuel their own manufacturing efforts. They make and release a range of metabolites for plants, among them growth hormones and precursor molecules. The latter become defensive compounds that plants use to thwart pathogens and herbivores.

Interestingly, the same type of master plan is at work in our bodies although the players are different. Deep down in the least-loved part of our digestive tract, the cells lining our root-like colon carry on incessant chemical exchanges with the human gut microbiome. Our well-being, it turns out, is intimately linked to the metabolites that our microbiome serves up. And as in the botanical world, our microbial allies rely, in part, on the exudates our colon cells produce. The human colon and the root of a plant are akin to biological bazaars in which the goods and wares exchanged between microbiome and host function as the backbone of a built-in health plan for people and plants.

This is astounding. Our microbial allies are as important in preventing disease as their pathogenic cousins are in causing it. The implications are enormous. We need to begin changing the agricultural and medical practices that have long been dismantling nature’s built-in health plan. For no less than our own health and that of our crops is at stake.
Visit The Hidden Half of Nature website.

--Marshal Zeringue