Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Botany of Desire

by Michael Pollan
In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan looks at four domesticated plants: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato, and through them examines how they co-evolved with us to meet our desires: sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control. Examples of co-evolution abound in nature; isn't it natural that our species, and our various human cultures, have co-evolved with other species? This wide-angle view allows Pollan to look deep into American (and world) history, as well as the history of science and agriculture, revealing as much about humanity as about the four plants in question. Though Pollan's writing can be a bit over-the-top at times, for the most part, The Botany of Desire is a fascinating, eye-opening journey.

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