A delightful narrative history of the celebrated plant-breeder Luther Burbank in early 20th-century America, "The Garden of Invention" is a colorful and engrossing examination of gardening, science, and business in the years between the Civil War and the Great Depression.A delightful narrative history of the celebrated plant-breeder Luther Burbank in early 20th-century America, "The Garden of Invention" is a colorful and engrossing examination of gardening, science, and business in the years between the Civil War and the Great Depression.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-03-16 Though as famous in his day as Thomas Edison, agricultural pioneer Luther Burbank (1849-1926) is little remembered; in this straightforward, engaging biography, author and historian Smith (Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine) recounts Burbank's life and its context, chronicling also agribusiness's turn-of-the-century growth and industrialization. Smith covers Burbank's rural New England childhood; the influence of Darwin on his horticultural ideas; his move to Santa Rosa, Calif.; and the establishment of his experimental gardens and nurseries. Amazingly, Burbank discovered independently the Mendelian principles that form the basis of genetics, and developed more than 800 varieties of fruits, nuts, vegetables and flowers. He made little money, largely owing to insufficient patent law (plants were not covered at the time) and his own paranoia, but he gained ample fame amid the 19th-century vogue for "progress." (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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