In today’s post, I’ll give some quick reviews of books on the 2022 reading list.
Since I read 42 books last year, I’m not going to attempt to cover them all in one post. Making it a regular Saturday post and working through the list over time instead seems sensible.
Plus, the weekend is a great time to buy new books.
Like every other day.
Born Again Dirt by Noah Sanders
This was my second time reading Born Again Dirt, and I had the additional blessing of attending the Redeeming the Dirt conference with Noah in 2022, in Central Alabama, a few hours north of our homestead.
The principles he covers are inspiring, and his Christian worldview on caring for people and the soil is refreshing. This is a book with practical tips as well as spiritual insight and I enjoyed it as much – or more – the second time.
5 out of 5 stars
An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard
An Agricultural Testament is a collection of writings by Sir Albert Howard, the great agricultural researcher. He travelled the British Empire, working with various crops and observing practices, while inventing new and improved methods of composting and soil care. His desire to recycle “wastes” back into the soil and to bolster plant nutrition to ward off disease was ahead of its time. An easy read and inspiring.
5 out of 5 stars
Landrace Gardening by Joseph Lofthouse
Landrace Gardening by renegade plant breeder Joseph Lofthouse sparkles with genius. Why not mix up seed lines? Why not create new heirlooms? Why not throw all your corn varieties together and see what happens?
Lofthouse urges you to break the rules and break out of the modern obsession with careful preservation of highly inbred seed lines with cutesy little stories and instead adapt plant genetics to your region through throwing a huge amount of variety at the soil until something great sticks!
This book was highly influential on our plantings in 2022 and will continue to be so this year, as we work to create our own locally adapted landraces.
5 out of 5 stars
The Contagion Myth by Thomas S. Cowan and Sally Fallon Morrell
This book was banned from Amazon during the pandemic, so of course I had to buy and read it.
Sally Fallon Morrell is the current president of the Weston A Price Foundation (of which Rachel and I are also members) and a leading advocate of healing yourself through an excellent traditional diet. I was unfamiliar with Thomas S. Cowan, though I later found out he argues that the heart is not a pump. This made me like him, since it was such a wild-sounding theory. When I ran into a female friend who said she had also read The Contagion Myth, I yelled at her, “THE HEART IS NOT A PUMP, DOROTHY!”
I thought this was hilarious. She laughed politely.
But back to the book.
The Contagion Myth questions the modern germ theory of disease, proving that there was significant fraud and questionable analyses over the years, including damning evidence on the chicanery of modern medical saint Louis Pasteur. Other possibilities for the spread of disease are postulated, including EMF exposure, poor nutrition, sympathetic vibrations, the body resetting itself, etc. It’s not a completely closed case, but it does a good job poking holes in the mainstream consensus. Since the mainstream consensus is an absolute racket run by Big Pharma and its bought-and-paid for governmental agencies, this book is important. I hope we read more on alternative theories in the future and that this opens up a good conversation.
NOTE: This book has now been republished as The Truth about Contagion.
4 out of 5 stars
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volumes 1 to 5) by Edward Gibbon
Rachel bought me this series some years ago when we lived in North Florida. We then moved to Grenada and I had to leave many of my books behind, including this set of eight volumes.
When we returned to the states, I got it back from my mother’s place and started reading at the end of 2021, making it most of the way through volume one before getting rid of my smart phone at the beginning of 2022. Once that stupid phone was gone, I was ready to roll, and made it through the first five volumes by mid-year. Then we had to move, and during the move I lost the rest of the series in a stack of boxes and was unable to complete the set and moved on to other books.
Gibbon has some bias against the Christian religion, but if you can get past his bias, he is truly an excellent writer. The story is engaging and takes you through century after century of wars, assassinations, intrigues, invasions, battles, love affairs, the birth and growth of Christianity, the Huns, the Goths, the Franks, the rise of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire and the last, sad days of Empire in the West, among many other high and low points. His footnotes often contain entertaining asides, and the prose is imminently readable, especially considering the series was written in the late 1700s.
If you have not read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, you should. It will give you a much better understanding of where the West is today and how it got here.
As a side note, multiple people have asked me if I see parallels to modern day America in Gibbon’s masterpiece. My answer is, “yes, but America is much less stable and rational than Rome.”
Rome managed to last for over a thousand years. The US will be lucky if it lasts until 2050.
NOTE: The version I have is an eight-volume set, whereas the best-looking version on Amazon (pictured above) is a six-volume set. There are also editions that have the entire series packed into a single volume, but I think that would be an absolute brick to read and recommend going for a multi-volume edition instead.
5 out of 5 stars