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
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, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?
"Pollan shines a light on our own nature as well as on our implication in the natural world." -The New York Times
"[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
"A wry, informed pastoral." -The New Yorker
"We can give no higher praise to the work of this superb science writer/ reporter than to say that his new book is as exciting as any you'll read." -Entertainment Weekly
"A whimsical, literary romp through man's perpetually frustrating and always unpredictable relationship with nature." -Los Angeles Times