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The Tulip: The Story of a Flower That Has Made Men Madby Anna Pavord
Synopses & Reviews
Extraordinary fact: In Amsterdam in 1838 the asking price for a single tulip bulb, the "Semper Augustus," was 13,000 florins. Anna Pavord explains in her elegant tome The Tulip that at the time this amount was "more than the cost of the most expensive house on the canals at the center of Amsterdam." Europe during this period was at the height of what was known as "Tulipmania," and as Pavord describes in her enthralling history of the flower, tulips have long woven a spell of lust and avarice on mankind. Beginning with references to the tulip in 13th-century Persian poetry and progressing all the way to the modern-day tulip fanciers of the Wakefield Tulip Society, Pavord's book is exhaustively comprehensive in its collection of stories behind this most desired flower.
In Pavord's assured prose these stories are fabulous and the history fascinating — at times, astonishing. One of the interesting (and, in some cases, literally maddening) aspects of the flower is that tulips can "break" — a process causing the flower to bloom for several years in a single color, and then suddenly reappear one year with a completely different design, replete with "flamed" or "feathered" patterns on its petals. Men who made their fortunes speculating on the flower were driven insane by this inconsistency: the tulip's "sublime, reckless, irrepressible, wayward, unpredictable, strange, subtle" character. Pavord argues that the tulip is the queen of all flowers, having inspired greed, desire, anguish, and, yes, madness for centuries. As she shares her obsession with her readers, we can't help but be convinced. Georgie, Powells.com
The New York Times bestseller and international publishing sensation-now available in paperback.
Greed, desire, anguish, and devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. No other flower has ever carried so much cultural baggage: it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behavior, mirrors economic booms and busts, and plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution.
Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, this beautifully produced and irresistible volume has become a bible, a unique source book, a universal gift book, and a joy to all who possess it. Now available in paperback, it's as irresistible as its subject.
"This is no dry, botanical tome, though its botany is gracefully woven into the tale. The Tulip reads more like an adventure story." Anne Raver, The New York Times
"[A] verbally and visually ravishing book." House & Garden
"I cannot praise this book too highly...beautifully designed and illustrated." Mail on Sunday
"Beware: this seductive book could start Tulipomania all over again." Harpers & Queen
About the Author
Anna Pavord is the gardening correspondent for the Independent, and the author of The Flowering Years and Gardening Companion. She lives in Dorset, England.
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