Cover image for The botany of desire : a plants-eye view of the world
Title:
The botany of desire : a plants-eye view of the world
Author:
Pollan, Michael.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : G.K. Hall, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
355 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780783896410
Format :
Book

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QK46.5.H85 P66 2001B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
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Summary

Author Notes

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 prize-winning 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 Provided) Michael Pollan was born in 1955 and raised on Long Island, NY. He received his B.A. in English from Bennington College in 1977 and his Masters, also in English, from Columbia University, in 1981. He is the author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, as well as 5 New York Times bestselling books: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World and Ho wto Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Pollan has an epiphany in his garden: what if the plant species humankind has nurtured over the last 10,000 years benefit as much from us as we do from them? Do humans choose to plant potatoes, or do potatoes attract humans like a flower lures a bee? Ablaze with this transformational vision, Pollan intertwines history, anecdote, and revelation as he investigates the connection between four plants that have thrived under human care--apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes--and the four human desires they satisfy in return: sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control. In the process, he casts new light on the legend of Johnny Appleseed. Holland's mania for tulips serves as a catalyst for a galvanizing discussion of why we wouldn't exist if flowers hadn't evolved. His refreshingly open-minded consideration of marijuana leads to profound reflections on the workings of the brain and the role psychoactive plants have played in the evolution of religion and culture. And, finally, Pollan ponders the Pandora's box of genetic engineering when he plants a patch of NewLeaf, a beetle-killing potato patented by Monsanto. Pollan's dynamic, intelligent, and intrepid parsing of the wondrous dialogue between plants and humans is positively paradigm-altering. Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

On the sixth anniversary of its original publication, Pollan's scientific twist on the human/plant symbiosis makes its audio debut. Pollan preaches a unique sort of romantic environmentalism where humans and plants satisfy each other's desires for survival, enjoyment, satisfaction and escape. He uses the apple, tulip, Cannabis and potato to develop his ideas, offering the histories of each and how they developed reciprocal relationships with the humans with whom each interacted. Scott Brick exudes excitement and breathes life into the recording-the timbre of his voice offering just the right touch of humor and depth. Listeners will feel like Brick truly loves the book and loves reading it aloud. It's a great combination for listeners: interesting subject, great writing and wonderful reading. Definitely not to be missed. (Reviews, Apr. 9, 2001) (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Plants are important to us for many reasons. Pollan, an editor and contributor to Harper's and the New York Times Magazine and author of Second Nature: A Gardener's Education, muses on our complex relationships with them, using the examples of the apple, the tulip, the marijuana plant, and the potato. He weaves disparate threads from personal, scientific, literary, historical, and philosophical sources into an intriguing and somehow coherent narrative. Thus, he portrays Johnny Appleseed as an important force in adapting apple trees to a foreign climate but also a Dionysian figure purveying alcohol to settlers; tulips as ideals of beauty that brought about disaster to a Turkish sultan and Dutch investors; marijuana as a much desired drug related to a natural brain chemical that helps us forget as well as a bonanza for scientific cultivators; and the potato, a crop once vilified as un-Christian, as the cause of the Irish famine and finally an example of the dangers of modern chemical-intense, genetically modified agriculture. These essays will appeal to those with a wide range of interests. Recommended for all types of libraries. [For more on the tulip, see Anna Pavord's The Tulip (LJ 3/1/99) and Mike Dash's Tuplipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused (LJ 3/1/00). Ed.] Marit S. Taylor, Auraria Lib., Denver (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Pollan's book is a mixture of history, personal memoir, and botany that relates aspects of the relationship of four domesticated plant species to human life. These plants--the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato--are linked with four human fundamental desires--sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control. Although the book suggests a "plant's-eye" view, the stories are related through the eyes, recollection, and study of the author, a science writer. The storytelling is engaging, and the author does make the reader stop and think about who is "doing the domesticating" in the evolution of people-plant relationships. Some of the scientific facts have been interpreted for the reader, and there may be differing opinions about these interpretations; however, the book is interesting and should appeal to general readers. L. M. Baird University of San Diego


Excerpts

Excerpts

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: the bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, a New York Times bestseller, that was named a best book of the year by Borders, Amazon, and the American Booksellers Association, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires - sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control - with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings. And just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants have also benefited at least as much from their association with us. So who is really domesticating whom? Excerpted from The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: The Human Bumblebeep. xiii
Chapter 1 Desire: Sweetness / Plant: The Applep. 1
Chapter 2 Desire: Beauty / Plant: The Tulipp. 59
Chapter 3 Desire: Intoxication / Plant: Marijuanap. 111
Chapter 4 Desire: Control / Plant: The Potatop. 181
Epiloguep. 239
Sourcesp. 247
Indexp. 257