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

4.05 avg rating
( 39,857 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375760396: The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Your MindCooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

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, 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, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Working in his garden one day, Michael Pollan hit pay dirt in the form of an idea: do plants, he wondered, use humans as much as we use them? While the question is not entirely original, the way Pollan examines this complex coevolution by looking at the natural world from the perspective of plants is unique. The result is a fascinating and engaging look at the true nature of domestication.

In making his point, Pollan focuses on the relationship between humans and four specific plants: apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. He uses the history of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) to illustrate how both the apple's sweetness and its role in the production of alcoholic cider made it appealing to settlers moving west, thus greatly expanding the plant's range. He also explains how human manipulation of the plant has weakened it, so that "modern apples require more pesticide than any other food crop." The tulipomania of 17th-century Holland is a backdrop for his examination of the role the tulip's beauty played in wildly influencing human behavior to both the benefit and detriment of the plant (the markings that made the tulip so attractive to the Dutch were actually caused by a virus). His excellent discussion of the potato combines a history of the plant with a prime example of how biotechnology is changing our relationship to nature. As part of his research, Pollan visited the Monsanto company headquarters and planted some of their NewLeaf brand potatoes in his garden--seeds that had been genetically engineered to produce their own insecticide. Though they worked as advertised, he made some startling discoveries, primarily that the NewLeaf plants themselves are registered as a pesticide by the EPA and that federal law prohibits anyone from reaping more than one crop per seed packet. And in a interesting aside, he explains how a global desire for consistently perfect French fries contributes to both damaging monoculture and the genetic engineering necessary to support it.

Pollan has read widely on the subject and elegantly combines literary, historical, philosophical, and scientific references with engaging anecdotes, giving readers much to ponder while weeding their gardens. --Shawn Carkonen

From the Back Cover:

“Pollan shines a light on our own nature as well as on our implication in the natural world.”
—The New York Times

“[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places.... Best of all, Pollan really loves plants.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“A wry, informed pastoral.”
—The New Yorker

“We can give no higher praise to the work of this superb science writer/ reporter than to say that his new book is as exciting as any you’ll read.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“A whimsical, literary romp through man’s perpetually frustrating and always unpredictable relationship with nature.”
—Los Angeles Times

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks 2002-05-28 (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Ebooksweb COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks 2002-05-28, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Best Bates
(Scarborough, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.66
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Booklot COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.96
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Mega Buzz
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0375760393. Seller Inventory # Z0375760393ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Pollan, Michael
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks 2002-05-28 (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Richard J. Park, Bookseller
(Leawood, KS, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House Trade Paperbacks 2002-05-28, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. 0375760393 BRAND NEW! In Protective Shrinkwrap! A Glossy Paperback in NEW, pristine condition. We ship all orders with delivery confirmation!. Seller Inventory # NG3-114

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 8.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

POLLAN, MICHAEL
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0375760393 ISBN 13: 9780375760396
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0375760393

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.88
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book