A farmer cultivates genetically modified potatoes so that a customer at McDonald's half a world away can enjoy a long, golden french fry. A gardener plants tulip bulbs in the autumn and in the spring has a riotous patch of colour to admire. Two simple examples of how humans act on nature to get what we want. Or are they? What if those potatoes and ...
A farmer cultivates genetically modified potatoes so that a customer at McDonald's half a world away can enjoy a long, golden french fry. A gardener plants tulip bulbs in the autumn and in the spring has a riotous patch of colour to admire. Two simple examples of how humans act on nature to get what we want. Or are they? What if those potatoes and tulips have evolved to gratify certain human desires so that humans will help them multiply? What if, in other words, these plants are using us just as we use them? In blending history, memoir and superb science writing, Pollan tells the story of four domesticated species - the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato. All four plants are integral to our everyday lives and Pollan demonstrates how each has thrived by satisfying one of humankind's most basic desires. Weaving fascinating anecdote and accessible science, Pollan takes the reader on an absorbing journey through the landscape of botany and desire. It is a journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.
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Good. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. xxv, 271 pp., biblio., index; 21 cm. Good+. Tight, clean copy. One leaf dogeared. Browning. "In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant-though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin? In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds's most basic yearnings-and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom? Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature. / Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine as well as a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. He is the author of two prizewinning books: Second Nature: A Gardener's Education and A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder. Pollan lives in Connecticut with his wife and son."-Publisher.
Author Pollan adds an interesting alternate look at the desirability by humans for four well known botanicals. Additionally he adds many very interesting side comments which make this book a very good read. Clearly, he has put a lot of fact gathering into this book!
Jun 8, 2007
What you didn?t know about plants . . . . .
Quite rightly considered to be a masterpiece, a unique take on our relationship to the natural world.
A cracking good read too!
Apr 3, 2007
A Great Read
Mr. Pollan examines the place four plants have played in the human experience. Sounds boring, right. In his able writer's hands it's anything but boring. It's a mind expanding whirlwind tour. Highly recommended.
Apr 2, 2007
beautiful and interesting book
An unusually elegant narrative style for nonfiction, this book is a must-read. Pollan is a witty, literary, and smart writer. This book may or may not change how you think about your diet (the way some of his work will), but the stories and the history are important links in the missing knowledge of the history of our food system, and the book is an enjoyable read. Nonficiton at its finest.
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