The Botany of Desire

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Random House, Jan 1, 2001 - Nature - 271 pages
1591 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
This guy is a research fiend!! - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Lauren Csaki - Goodreads

This book was my first foray into the phenomenon that is Michael Pollan. Truthfully, I was prepared to be blown away by him, but I found this book merely "great" instead of "awesome." I plan on giving ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Lillian - Goodreads

Some of this seemed like old news. Some of it was TMI. Oddly, the best part of the book was the neurophysiological discussion in the cannabis section. Read full review

All 53 reviews »

Contents

Beauty Plant The Tulip
59
Intoxication Plant Marijuana
111
Control Plant The Potato
181
Copyright

2 other sections not shown

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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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