Read The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Bargain Price Edition by Michael Pollan Free Online
Book Title: The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Bargain Price Edition|
The author of the book: Michael Pollan
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: No data
The size of the: 659 KB
Edition: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Date of issue: May 28th 2002
ISBN: No data
Read full description of the books The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Bargain Price Edition:All those plants care about is what every being cares about on the most basic genetic level: making more copies of itself...
Did I choose to plant these potatoes, or did the potato make me do it?...
All these plants, which I'd always regarded as the objects of my desire, were also, I realized, subjects, acting on me, getting me to do things for them they couldn't do for themselves.
Pollan posits that plants are clever little buggers who have tricked and enslaved the human race into doing their bidding.
I am not unfamiliar with this thinking. Growing up, my father regularly told me the same thing. Once when walking home from school on a windy day, a large branch fell on me, striking my shoulder and knocking me to the ground. Since my collar bone was not broken, I got up and walked home. When I told my father what happened, he said,
"Of course. The trees are always hoping we'll drop dead. This one was just a bit more aggressive about it."
PAPI: "Trees are always hoping that the humans or animals walking by will drop dead. That way they will have a tasty snack."
I've never forgotten what my father told me. He was halfway serious in these remarks, and I take them halfway seriously, too. Even though I've seen tons of "stupid" or "silly" horror films which dream up scenarios in which "plants are trying to kill us!," there is an undercurrent of truth in the notion that, in a way, plants are very evolved organisms, much more evolved than humans themselves. Who can say what their true intentions are? (I'm only half-joking, here.)
Despite the rather "hokey horror film" premise of Pollan's introduction, the book is a smart yet entertaining look at plants and their history of coevolution and codependence with human beings.
The book is divided into four parts.
1.) APPLES. This is a very interesting portion of the book. A lot of focus is on Johnny Appleseed. We also get some fascinating discussions of religion.
There was an old tradition in northern Europe linking the grape, which flourished all through Latin Christendom, with the corruptions of the Catholic Church, while casting the apple as the wholesome fruit of Protestantism. Wine figured in the Eucharist; also, the Old Testament warned against the temptations of the grape. But the Bible didn't have a bad word to say about the apple or even the strong drink that could be made from it. Even the most God-fearing Puritan could persuade himself that cider had been given a theological free pass.
2.) TULIPS. This section was hella boring. I was bored out of my skull. Ugh. SO BORING.
3.) MARIJUANA. This was a fascinating section about drugs, Pollan's experiences growing and smoking pot, and why plants that alter human consciousness could be a good thing.
We also get gems like this:
[Witches'] potion recipes called for such things as datura, opium poppies, belladonna, hashish, fly-agaric mushrooms, and the skins of toads. These ingredients would be combined in a hempseed-oil-based "flying ointment" that the witches would then administer vaginally using a special dildo. This was the "broomstick" by which these women were said to travel.
Pollan posits that many of our philosophies and our religions come from the influence of drugs. There's a lot of research to back him up, which I won't go into here.
4.) POTATO. This was interesting because Pollan discusses the Potato Famine and also GMO potatoes. He even grows some GMO potatoes himself in his garden as an experiment. Blah blah blah food industry blah blah blah monoculture blah blah blah.
Tl;dr - 3 out of 4 ain't bad. The mindnumbing tulip section stops this from being a 5-star book, but I think this is a better book than the only other Pollan book I've read: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, in which Pollan comes off as a rather entitled and condescending wealthy person. There's not much of that here, Pollan is much more relatable in this book, perhaps because he's not trying to tell people what to eat and how to live their lives.
Wow, Carmen, bitter much?
I call it how I see it! :p
This book has so much information and interesting thinking points that I think it is definitely worth reading for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the topics presented here. I was surprised the book was so good. I'm impressed.
Read information about the authorMichael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.
Excerpted from Wikipedia.
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