• The Botany of Desire

  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 23-05-06
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audio Evolution
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (38 ratings)

Editor reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: It's hard to believe how much interest one man can generate in plants, but Michael Pollan does it. And he's a bit of an iconoclast, revealing a side of Johnny Appleseed (think hard apple cider) you might not have known, and tiptoeing through generations of tulip hybridization to account for a dearth in rarity. Offbeat or unexpected nonfiction works like this are a pleasure to listen to, placing the most common of things in new light. We learned a lot from this audiobook.
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Summary

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires, sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control, with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings. And just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants have also benefited at least as much from their association with us. So who is really domesticating whom?
©2001 by Michael Pollan (P)2006 by Audio Evolution, LLC
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Critic reviews

"[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places....Best of all, Pollan really loves plants." ( The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Andrew Michael Watson on 15-10-17

Dissapointing

As a scientist who lectures in plant biology I was really excited to see an audio book with a botany theme. I was hoping to be able to recommend it to some of my first year undergraduate students to help them develop a wider interest of the subject. This book seems to lack substance - perhaps if I had absolutely no background whatsoever to this subject I might find it of some interest. However the overwhelming majority of it just seems to be common sense (even for someone who is pre-GCSE) and then rambles on about not very much.

Please can someone add a proper book on botany/plant science. The Great Courses Biology book was great but fairly broad so wasn't able to cover this area in any detail.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dominique Hackett on 17-01-09

Amazing Listen - Thoroughly Satisfying

I realized my teenage children and I have listened to various parts of this book a dozen times already. Time to write a Review! Recommended to us by their high school teacher, this book discusses the history, science, and more regarding the apple, the lily, weed, and the potato. Don't miss this book - it is well read and not only very informative but a great story as well.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Theodore on 22-04-12

If you have an open mind... Give it a listen

This is one of those books that just gives you a lot to think about. I would actually suggest this book to anyone. Fitting narration, excellent content, something that anyone can appreciate.

The narrator was pretty good, I wasn't falling asleep, I never thought that it was drawling on nor was I thinking it was being rushed. There were moments you can laugh at and it was also very easy to follow in the easy, cool tone the narrator had. The entire book was brought across very well.

I have some friends who studied botany in in college who I picture would find the entire book fascinating. I majored in Chemistry and I found myself channelling my inner scientist by the Potato chapter wondering how I could genetically modify a Pumpkin plant, that's how thought provoking I found this book. Also, I can see someone with no affiliation with science also appreciating this book as long as they have an open mind. The book was not complicated in any way by having overly complex concept and was broken down in a form I think anyone could appreciate.

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30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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