Poetry Madness

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Beyond the Headlines | March 6, 2015

    Rhianna Walton: IMG Beyond the Headlines: How to Visit Cuba

    Ever since President Obama's December announcement that the United States is resuming full diplomatic ties with Cuba, the Powell's buyers' office... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Gardening- Writing
1 Beaverton Nature Studies- Botany
8 Home & Garden Gardening- Writing

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


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


What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

kitpat, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by kitpat)
The author describes how sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control have influenced "our" behavior!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
librariphile, October 21, 2012 (view all comments by librariphile)
This is the first book I finished after a long hiatus from "fun" reading. Each chapter presented well-researched, new information as well as charming anecdotes from the author.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Anthony Lee, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by Anthony Lee)
I'm glad the author didn't allow the weed to be replaced by the grape in the televised edition!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
SacredWellness, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by SacredWellness)
Pollan takes a unique look at the human interaction with plants. The book is a page turner and all will find it interesting. Pollan is an excellent writer.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
whoseblues1, June 28, 2007 (view all comments by whoseblues1)
Really 4++ stars. I decided to read this book (from 2001) before reading the author's most recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. This book discusses 4 different plants, demonstrating how 4 different human desires have operated to make them so successful. The apple tree and the apple come first, and, among other points, the real story about Johnny Appleseed is very interesting. The tulip is discussed next, along with the rabid financial speculation involved in its rise. Marijuana is third, and the chapter includes thoughts on the ubiquitous nature of human use, over time and across cultures, of consciousness-altering plant chemicals, and the possible connection of this use to the development of religion generally. Finally, the potato is last, with a look at the nature of genetic modification that is both sobering and thought provoking. The book posits that, while we pat ourselves on the back for domesticating these (and other) plants, we really have functioned much in the capacity of bees to fulfill the reproductive imperative of the plants themselves. In breeding these plants as we have to fulfill our own narrow desires, however, we may be paying too high a price in lost biodiversity, to our own eventual disadvantage. Well written, a clean, fast read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(33 of 56 readers found this comment helpful)
 1-5 of 8 next

Product Details

Pollan, Michael
Random House Trade
New York
Human-plant relationships.
Plants - General
General science
Gardening-History and Theory
Gardening : General
Edition Description:
1st ed. trade paperback ed.
Series Volume:
no. 48
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.00x5.32x.66 in. .50 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. All Over Creation
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  2. Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home Used Hardcover $4.95
  3. The Hot Zone Used Mass Market $3.95
  4. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of...
    Used Trade Paper $9.95
  5. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of...
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  6. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a...
    Used Mass Market $4.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » World Book Night 2014
Home and Garden » Gardening » General
Home and Garden » Gardening » History and Theory
Home and Garden » Gardening » Writing
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Botany » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Botany
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Random House Trade - English 9780375760396 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "A lovely book that succeeds in attaining that most elusive of states: grace." (Read the entire Esquire review.)
"Review" by , "I find this book to be inspirational — curiosity and gentleness of spirit forming genius."
"Review" by , "Pollan shines a light on our own nature as well as on our implication in the natural world."
"Review" by , "Michael Pollan is a sensualist and a wonderful, funny storyteller. He is so engaging that his profound environmental messages are effortlessly communicated. He makes you fall in love with Nature."
"Review" by , "This book is as crisp as an October apple, as juicy as an August tomato, as long-awaited as the first flower of spring. Michael Pollan has conceived a new and powerful understanding of who we are, and how we stand in relation to everything else — and the stories he tells to prove the point make the world seem a richer place."
"Review" by , "It is a rare pleasure to read a book of ideas so graceful and witty that it makes you smile — at times even laugh out loud — with delight as it challenges you to rethink important issues."
"Review" by , "Like Tracy Kidder, Michael Pollan is a writer to immerse in. He's informed and amusing, with a natural sort of voice that spools on inventively beyond expectations into a controlled but productive and intriguing obsessiveness (whether on Johnny Appleseed or marijuana). A fine book."
"Review" by , "No one else writes about the human environment quite like Michael Pollan: we can be grateful indeed that one of our wittiest writers about nature is also one of our wisest. In The Botany of Desire, Pollan makes a persuasive case that the plants we might be tempted to see as having been most domesticated by humanity are in fact also those that have been most effective in domesticating us. It is a stunning insight, and no one will come away from this book without having their ideas of nature stretched and challenged."
"Review" by , "A wry, informed pastoral."
"Synopsis" by , 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?
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.