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.
Pollan tells the story of four domesticated species - the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato, and describes how each has thrived by satisfying humankind's most basic desires.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001) examines the intricate evolutionary relationship between plant cultivation and human desire. Author Michael Pollan explores this relationship by recounting the history of four plants that have been cultivated to meet four distinct human longings… Purchase this in-depth summary to learn more.
Quicklets: Your Reading Sidekick! ABOUT THE BOOK For look into a flower, and what do you see? Into the very hear of natures double naturethat is, the contending energies of creation and dissolution, the spiring toward complex form and the tidal pull away from it. Apollo and Dionysus were names the Greeks gave to these two faces of nature, and nowhere in nature is their contest as plain or as poignant as it is in the beauty of a flower and its rapid passing. Published over ten years ago, Michael Pollans The Botany of Desire: A Plants-Eye View of The World has had a profound impact on a generation increasingly sensitive to their interaction with nature and the environment. Teaching us to bridge gaps and take on perspectives other than our own, Pollan shows us revelatory information regarding our shared history with plants. Throughout the book, the dichotomy of the Apollonian and Dionysian are expounded upon the balance that is inherent in nature. Ideally, there is a give and take between controlled clarity and the seemingly chaotic. This extends to the reciprocal relationship between man and plant. MEET THE AUTHOR Britt Keller enjoys writing on any number of topics in order to share her understanding and perspective with others. She went to school for design, but has lately become more interested in reading, writing, philosophy, etcetera. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK The Basic Desire All beings are united by the most basic of desires: making copies of itself. For Pollan, the next logical step was to seriously consider the plants point of view. More specifically: the apple, the tulip, cannabis, and the potato. While we consider them domesticized, that gives the impression that were in charge. Unequivocally, they are in turn manipulating us, each party ensuring the survival of the other species. Further, by looking at the social history of each of these plants, we find highly accurate clues about the history of mankind. We shape them, and they shape us. In tracing our relation to the development of each plant, we unlock a multitude of implications about who we are. Whos Domesticating Whom? Recognizing the complexity and sophistication of plants lies in appreciating the difference in direction theyve taken to invent new strategies of survival. Transforming water, soil, and sunlight, they are true alchemists... Buy a copy to keep reading! CHAPTER OUTLINE Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World + About The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of The World + About Michael Pollan + Overall Summary + The Human Bumblebee + ...and much more
“One of the distinguished gardening books of our time,” from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (USA Today). Chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 75 greatest books ever written about gardening After Michael Pollan bought an old Connecticut dairy farm, he planted a garden and attempted to follow Thoreau’s example: do not impose your will upon the wilderness, the woodchucks, or the weeds. That ethic did not, of course, work. But neither did pesticides or firebombing the woodchuck burrow. So Michael Pollan began to think about the troubled borders between nature and contemporary life. The result is a funny, profound, and beautifully written book in the finest tradition of American nature writing. It inspires thoughts on the war of the roses; sex and class conflict in the garden; virtuous composting; the American lawn; seed catalogs, and the politics of planting a tree. A blend of meditation, autobiography, and social history, Second Nature, from the renowned author of The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food, and other bestsellers, is “as delicious a meditation on one man’s relationship with the Earth as any you are likely to come upon” (The New York Times Book Review). “Usually when Americans have wanted to explore their relationship to nature they’ve gone to the wilderness, or the woods. Michael Pollan went to the garden instead . . . and he’s returned with a quirky and pleasing book.” —Annie Dillard “A joy to read.” —Los Angeles Times
In this important new book, High argues that poverty reduction policies are formulated and implemented in fields of desire. Drawing on psychoanalytic understandings of desire, she shows that such programs circulate around the question of what is lacking. Far from rational responses to measures of need, then, the politics of poverty are unconscious, culturally expressed, mutually contradictory, and sometimes contrary to self-interest. Based on long-term fieldwork in a Lao village that has been the subject of multiple poverty reduction and development programs, High's account looks at implementation on the ground. While these efforts were laudable in their aims of reducing poverty, they often failed to achieve their objectives. Local people received them with suspicion and disillusionment. Nevertheless, poverty reduction policies continued to be renewed by planners and even desired locally. High relates this to the force of aspirations among rural Lao, ambivalent understandings of power and the "post-rebellious" moment in contemporary Laos.
Contemporary debates over issues as wide-ranging as the protection of wildernesses and endangered species, the spread of genetically modified organisms, the emergence of synthetic biology, and the advance of human enhancement, all of which seem to spin into deeper and more baffling questions with every change in the news cycle, often circle back to the same fundamental question: should there be limits to the human alteration of the natural world? A growing number of people view the human capacity to alter natural states of affairs -- from formerly wild spaces and things around us to crops and livestock to our own human nature -- as cause for moral alarm. That reaction raises a number of perplexing philosophical questions, however: Can we identify "natural" states of affairs at all? Does the idea of being morally concerned about the human relationship to nature make any sense? Should such a concern influence public policy and politics, or should government stay strenuously neutral on such matters? Through a study of moral debates about the environment, agricultural biotechnology, synthetic biology, and human enhancement, Gregory E. Kaebnick, a research scholar at The Hastings Center and editor of the Hastings Center Report, argues that concerns about the human alteration of nature can be legitimate and serious, but also that they are complex, contestable, and of limited political force. Kaebnick defends attempts to identify "natural" states of affairs by disentangling the nature/artifact distinction from metaphysical hoariness. Drawing on David Hume, he also defends moral standards for the human relationship to nature, arguing that they, and moral standards generally, should be understood as grounded in what Hume called the "passions." Yet what counts as "natural" can be delineated only roughly, he concludes, and moral standards for interaction with nature are less a matter of obligation than of ideals. Kaebnick also concludes, drawing on an interpretation of the liberal principle of neutrality, that government may support those standards but must be careful not to enforce them. Thus Kaebnick looks for a middle way on debates that have tended toward polarization. "As differences between nature and artifact become steadily less substantial, problems about preservation run to the core of how people can make sense of themselves, of each other, and of our shared world. Kaebnick's solutions are creative and compelling, theoretically elegant and politically practical. Providing distinctive ways forward, when much academic and policy discussion seems exhausted, his book demands wide attention. In return, it inspires hope." - James Nelson, Michigan State University
Primary and secondary source documents discuss the evolution of genetically modified crops, their impact on society, and the laws that govern their use and sale.
One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the James Beard Award Author of #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating. From the Trade Paperback edition.
'A must-read ... satisfying, rich ... loaded with flavour' Sunday Telegraph This book is a celebration of food. By food, Michael Pollan means real, proper, simple food - not the kind that comes in a packet, or has lists of unpronounceable ingredients, or that makes nutritional claims about how healthy it is. More like the kind of food your great-grandmother would recognize. In Defence of Food is a simple invitation to junk the science, ditch the diet and instead rediscover the joys of eating well. By following a few pieces of advice (Eat at a table - a desk doesn't count. Don't buy food where you'd buy your petrol!), you will enrich your life and your palate, and enlarge your sense of what it means to be healthy and happy. It's time to fall in love with food again. For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His most recent book, about the ethics and ecology of eating, is The Omnivore's Dilemma, named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature.
This collection of studies by anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists is an important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology. The book combines cutting-edge research with new perspectives to emphasize the close relationship between humans and their natural environment. Contributors examine how alterations in the natural world mirror human cultures, societies, and languages. Treating the landscape like a text, these researchers decipher patterns and meaning in the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other regions in the neotropics. They show how local peoples have changed the landscape over time to fit their needs by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance. In turn, the environment itself becomes a form of architecture rich with historical and archaeological significance. Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology explores thousands of years of ecological history while also addressing important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change. Engagingly written and expertly researched, this book introduces and exemplifies a unique method for better understanding the link between humans and the biosphere.
Billions of fresh-cut flowers are flown into the United States every year, allowing Americans to choose from a broad array of blooms regardless of the season. Favored Flowers is a lively investigation of the worldwide production and distribution of fresh-cut flowers and their consumption in the New York metropolitan area. In an ethnography filled with roses, orchids, and gerberas, flower auctions, new hybrids, and new logistical systems, Catherine Ziegler unravels the economic and cultural strands of the global flower market. She provides an historical overview of the development of the cut flower industry in New York from the late nineteenth century to 1970, and on to its ultimate transformation from a domestic to a global industry. As she points out, cut flowers serve no utilitarian purpose; rather, they signal consumers’ social and cultural decisions about expressing love, mourning, status, and identity. Ziegler shows how consumer behavior and choices have changed over time and how they are shaped by the media, by the types of available flowers, and by flower retailing. Ziegler interviewed more than 250 people as she followed flowers along the full length of the commodity chain, from cuttings in Europe and Latin America to vases in and around New York. She examines the daily experiences of flower growers in the Netherlands and Ecuador, two leading exporters of flowers to the United States. Primary focus, though, is on others in the commodity chain: exporters, importers, wholesalers, and retailers. She follows their activities as they respond to changing competition, supply, and consumer behavior in a market characterized by risk, volatility, and imperfect knowledge. By tracing changes in the wholesale and retail systems, she shows the recent development of two complementary commodity chains in New York and the United States generally. One leads to a high-end luxury market served by specialty florists and designers, and the other to a lower-priced mass market served by chain groceries, corner delis, and retail superstores.
It's simple: If children don't understand what they read, they will never embrace reading. And that limits what they can learn while in school. This fact frightens parents, worries teachers, and ultimately hurts children. 7 Keys to Comprehension is the result of cutting-edge research. It gives parents and teachers—those who aren't already using this valuable program—practical, thoughtful advice about the seven simple thinking strategies that proficient readers use: • Connecting reading to their background knowledge • Creating sensory images • Asking questions • Drawing inferences • Determining what's important • Synthesizing ideas • Solving problems Easily understood, easily applied, and proven successful, this essential educational tool helps parents and teachers to turn reading into a fun and rewarding adventure.
Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and even grass; and recommended appropriate medicinal, dietary, and aesthetic approaches to select species of plants. In this book, Michael Marder illuminates the vegetal centerpieces and hidden kernels that have powered theoretical discourse for centuries. Choosing twelve botanical specimens that correspond to twelve significant philosophers, he recasts the development of philosophy through the evolution of human and plant relations. A philosophical history for the postmetaphysical age, The Philosopher's Plant reclaims the organic heritage of human thought. With the help of vegetal images, examples, and metaphors, the book clears a path through philosophy's tangled roots and dense undergrowth, opening up the discipline to all readers.
What would biology look like if it took the problem of natural evil seriously? This book argues that biological descriptions of evolution are inherently moral, just as the biblical story of creation has biological implications. A complete account of evolution will therefore require theological input. The Dome of Eden does not try to harmonize evolution and creation. Harmonizers typically begin with Darwinism and then try to add just enough religion to make evolution more palatable, or they begin with Genesis and pry open the creation account just wide enough to let in a little bit of evolution. By contrast, Stephen Webb provides a theory of how evolution and theology fit together, and he argues that this kind of theory is required by the internal demands of both theology and biology. The Dome of Eden also develops a theological account of evolution that is distinct from the intelligent design movement. Webb shows how intelligent design properly discerns the inescapable dimension of purpose in nature but, like Darwinism itself, fails to make sense of the problem of natural evil. Finally, this book draws on the work of Karl Barth to advance a new reading of the Genesis narrative and the theology of Duns Scotus to provide the necessary metaphysical foundation for evolutionary thought.