Animals & Nature Anna Pavord The Tulip

ISBN 13: 9780747546214

The Tulip

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9780747546214: The Tulip

The New York Times bestseller and international publishing sensation.

Greed, desire, anguish, and devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. No other flower has ever carried so much cultural baggage: it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behavior, mirrors economic booms and busts, and plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution.

Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, this beautifully produced and irresistible volume has become a bible, a unique source book, a universal gift book, and a joy to all who possess it. Now available in paperback, it's as irresistible as its subject.

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Review:

In an auction held in Holland in February 1637, 99 lots of tulip bulbs fetched a staggering 90,000 guilders, more than $3.5 million in today's money. Tulipomania had reached its height, and its story is told in just one of the fascinating sections of Anna Pavord's wonderful book on this most seductive of flowers.

Pavord's passion for the flower is evident from the opening pages of the book, where she tells of scrambling across the hillsides of Crete in search of an obscure, indigenous purple tulip. The story of the discovery of this tulip leads into Pavord's extraordinary history of this beautiful, enigmatic flower. As with all the best love stories, Pavord's is told from the perspective of the object of affection--in this case, the tulip--from its adoption by the Ottoman sultans of Istanbul in the 18th century to its present cultivation by the Wakefield Tulip Society.

Along the way, incredible stories of people's investments in the flower emerge, the result, as Pavord explains, of a unique feature of the tulip. Its variegated colors are produced by a small parasitic aphid, which weakens the plant but produces its gorgeous hues. The tulipomania that gripped 17th-century Europe was a form of futures trading, as people purchased tulip bulbs at increasingly inflated prices with the hope that they would flower into the most beautiful and kaleidoscopic colors imaginable. Tulip is an extraordinary book, beautifully illustrated and offering a fascinating story of our obsession with the most ephemeral of objects. Buying tulip bulbs will never be the same again. --Jerry Brotton

About the Author:

Anna Pavord is the gardening correspondent for the Independent, and the author of The Flowering Years and Gardening Companion. She lives in Dorset, England.

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