Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America

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9780865476295: Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America

In this ground-shaking, breath-taking cri de coeur, Bowden delves with love-driven fury for the roots of our brutal history in this once-brave New World. The figures he casts before us-from Pancho Villa to a modern-day drug lord, from General Sherman to a skid-row Sioux named Robert Sundance-trace a story not so much of rapaciousness as of fear and loathing. Bowden twines it with the natural history of the hammer orchid, a carnivore whose deceptive delicacy comes to stand for the terror and hypocrisy that have perverted our love of the land, its peoples, and our very natures.

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About the Author:

Charles Bowden is a journalist whose work appears regularly in Harper's, Esquire, GQ, and other national publications. He is the author of several previous books of nonfiction. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

From Booklist:

Bowden is an incandescent writer attuned to beauty as well as crime and violence. He's written about drug dealers, Charles Keating, and his beloved Sonora Desert in books notable for their jolting lyricism. Here he takes us on a wild journey through his past and across the gritty American and Mexican West, ranting all the way about our poisoned earth and corrupted society. Bowden's "blood orchids" are evil, malignant blossoms that feed on nuclear waste and the horrors of war, massacre, torture, and prejudice. We have a compulsion for "killing the thing we love," Bowden claims, an urge responsible, in part, for the severe damage we've done to the environment. Bowden rails against this travesty as well as the even greater crimes perpetuated against Native Americans, but he also declares his love for the "mess" of life in the Americas, the "strange mongrel mixture of races, ideas, seeds, spores, viruses, bacteria." He despises the sanctimoniousness of the environmental movement and doesn't hesitate to declare his politically incorrect taste for alcohol, women in high heels, guns, and traveling at high speeds. As his narrative progresses, Bowden's stream of consciousness becomes a raging river, and riding it proves to be exhilarating and painful, provoking and cathartic. Donna Seaman

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Bowden, Charles
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