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June 16, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

DIRT: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan (Riverhead/Berkley:$12.; 202 pp.). Logan writes enthusiastically about dirt, the stuff that gets into the knees of jeans--and makes terrestrial life possible. He brings life to such mundane topics as how topsoil is formed from rock fragments and how earthworms aerate and fertilize the soil. As he examines his subject, Logan explains how windblown dust from the Sahara preserves the Brazilian rain forest, and warns of the dangers of mono-culture, a widespread form of agricultural that wastes countless tons of irreplaceable soil every year in America.

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