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

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Random House Publishing Group, Jun 12, 2001 - Nature - 304 pages
1621 Reviews
The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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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  - Rebecca - Goodreads

This was a delightful read. I definitely liked the first chapters more than the later chapters, though there is valuable information in all of the chapters. The writing is compelling and the topics interesting. Read full review

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

User Review  - Carmen - Goodreads

All those plants care about is what every being cares about on the most basic genetic level: making more copies of itself... Did I choose to plant these potatoes, or did the potato make me do it ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Michael Pollan is the author of seven books, including Cooked: The Natural History of Transformation, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

From the Hardcover edition.

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