The Botany of Desire

Front Cover
Random House, Jan 1, 2001 - Nature - 271 pages
1604 Reviews
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 — thought 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.

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Expert writing, nice insights - Goodreads
Prose. Is. Dead. Dull. - Goodreads
Very interesting, well researched book. - Goodreads
I loved the intro to this book! - Goodreads
I love the premise of this book... - Goodreads
his writing is too boring to read. - Goodreads

Review: The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

An outstanding romp through cultural and agricultural history! Michael Pollan provides a well-researched and engaging commentary on how four plants reflect human desires. Read full review

Review: The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

User Review  - Kristin - Goodreads

Writing: 3 Story: 3 Satisfaction: 4 I can't be the first one to notice that a guy with the last name Pollan wrote a book on plants right? I'm not sure how I stumbled across this one but it showed up ... Read full review

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Beauty Plant The Tulip
Intoxication Plant Marijuana
Control Plant The Potato

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About the author (2001)

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.

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