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Vol. 10, No. 2, 2011
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gene logsdon 's

Todd Simmons

reviewed by


Todd Simmons is the editor of Wolverine Farm Publishing.

With a title like Holy Shit for his latest book, author Gene Logsdon set himself up perfectly to lob (lob!) one joke after another about, well, shit. I mentioned to a friend recently how humans don’t seem to be as funny anymore, and he said, isn’t that just called awareness? My friend was right, but later on I realized humans are not as funny anymore because most of us are aware of the growing calamities the world over, but most of us are still not living right, in a variety of ways, and it’s hard to be funny when you’re living so wrong. Gene Logsdon gets to make all those jokes about poop because he is right, and right by the bucketful. He is right to advise us on how to better manage manure, and he is right to keep an open mind about using what is now considered waste as a fertilizer. No kind of poop goes unexplored -- cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, cats, dogs, birds and bats, humans -- you name it, and Logsdon dives in.

Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind 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.

“Chicken manure is the easiest of all barn manures to handle, mostly because chickens do not urinate in the same way that, say, a horse does, flushing out enough in one session to drown a chicken or two. Nevertheless, I am often shocked at the mess I sometimes see in the coops of even very small flocks.”

I love books like Holy Shit that so clearly define and solve a perceived problem. In managing our manure better, we could instantly conserve vast amounts of water, end our dependence on commercial fertilizers (their end is coming anyway), build up the health of our soil, grow amazingly nutritious food and learn how to properly use pitchforks again.

Who would have thought our salvation could come through shit?

Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 30th 2010 by Chelsea Green Publishing

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Slice and Salmon Lice
The Soya Bean Conspiracy
Can Red Meat Take the Heat


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