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(REQUEST) Michael Pollan - The Botany of Desire + Extra

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(REQUEST) Michael Pollan - The Botany of Desire + Extra

Michael Pollan - The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

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 — thought 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.

Publisher: Random House (2001)
ISBN: 1588360083

This eBook is a .mobi file. Unfortunately it's the only copy I could find. Here's a link to a free small program that works great for reading .mobi files:

Michael Pollan - Cannabis, Forgetting and the Botany of Desire

This paper is a transcript of the public lecture Pollan as well as the comments of a panel organized to explore the environmental impact of food production in general.

Journalist Michael Pollan is the well known writer of the book The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World: a 2001 nonfiction book. This work explores the nature of domesticated plants from the dual perspective of humans and the plants themselves. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The apple reflects the desire of sweetness, the tulip beauty, marijuana intoxication, and the potato control.

Pollan narrates his own experience with each of the plants, which he then intertwines with an exploration into their social history. Each section presents an element of human domestication, or the "human bumblebee" as Pollan calls us. The stories range from the true story of Johnny Appleseed to Pollan's first-hand research with sophisticated marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam to the paradigm-shifting possibilities of genetically engineered potatoes.

A unique approach and a compelling thesis. Read this if you're curious about how the histories of plants and people have shaped one another.

The lecture itself is on YouTube -