Our Movie Reviews Botany of Desire, The
Author: Michael Pollan
Average Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Last Reviewed On: September 22, 2002 (by Scott)

Scott's Review:
4 out of 5 stars on September 22, 2002

This is really an interesting book. It takes the basic premise that plants and humans are co-evolving, in effect making each other change to suit them, and runs with it. It shows the history of apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes, and how these plants have changed in a relatively short period of time thanks to human intervention.

While I felt the author's original premise that plants have shaped human desire gets lost early on in the history of the plants, it's still an intensely interesting book. You probably never knew that Jonny Appleseed was more interested in apple cider than edible apples, that tulips were once the most coveted flower of all, and many other little tidbits of that Pollan's trip through history turns up.

The last two chapters, on marijuana and potatoes are bit a politically slanted. Pollan obviously believes that marijuana should be legalized, and that genetic engineering is a bad thing. That aside, even the chapter on something you take as for granted as the simple potato is fascinating to read. Some of what goes on to get us our modern day French fry, and how we got to that point is really sobering. I highly recommend this book.

-- Scott and Michelle