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The Botany of Desire Audiobook

The Botany of Desire

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.
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Audible 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.

Publisher's 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

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1682 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer New York, United States 09-16-11
    Amazon Customer New York, United States 09-16-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Great book ruined by unimaginably awful reading"

    It is difficult to say I enjoyed this book when I could barely stomach the awful narration by Scott Brick. I think having him narrate this (as well as all the other Michael Pollan books) is a huge disservice to MP fans. I think having my eyes poked out would be preferable to listening to another book by this reader, even if it were my most favourite book ever.

    The sing-songy and overly dramatic (in random places that have nothing to do with the storyline) reading completely take away any pleasure to be gained from Michael Pollan's clear, insightful writing. I actually had to abandon the book after the second section because I just couldn't take it any longer. I feel cheated - of my time, of my money, and of what could have been a wonderful listening experience. Audible.com should have a free short listening sample from each book so you can make sure the narrator is not going to ruin it for you before you spend your money on the whole book!

    If you can tolerate his nasal, whiny narration, go for it - the material is fantastic, and everything one would expect from Michael Pollan.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Vashon, WA, United States 07-15-07
    Derek Vashon, WA, United States 07-15-07 Member Since 2010
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    "Not what I hoped"

    I should have read the other reviews before buying this book. The introduction was interesting and I looked forward to the science behind the themes it presented. It was not to be. Way too many musings about the character of Johnny Appleseed for a book I thought would be more about evolution and genetics. Perhaps if I was expecting something different, I would not be as disappointed. I gave up after the Apple chapter.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Strychalski 04-01-09
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    "Good book spoiled by narration"

    Interesting and educatonal, but.....
    Maybe it is well written, and maybe not - the over-dramatic narration gets in the way and is so distracting that it was hard to tell. Every sentence sounds either like a headline or like a parent trying to entice a reluctant toddler to appreciate something suspect. It was so continuously irritating that I will avoid this reader in the future (so it looks like I'll be looking for print versions of any other Michael Pollan I'm curious about).
    Although it's a stretch to say that the themes of "which species is in charge" and "desire" really provided organization or depth for the four separate narratives of this book, they are intriguing ideas and the stories of these plants are worth reading.

    12 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    slong 09-28-15
    slong 09-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "great book!"

    I am a huge fan of Micheal Pollan and this book did not disappoint. I lreally enjoyed how he wove the history of the the various plants (apples, marajuana, tulips, potatoes, etc) with their present day significance. With each chapter being its own story it's easy to listen to over a longer period of time (if that makes sense!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    samuel d desocio Beaver Falls, PA United States 08-02-15
    samuel d desocio Beaver Falls, PA United States 08-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    "The botany of religion?"

    I really like Pollan's work but I wish he would see the duplicity of making the main troupe of the book the Greek gods and then dismissing Christianity and Judaism as old hat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan 07-18-15
    Evan 07-18-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Another wonderful book from Michael Pollan"

    I have never read a Michael Pollan book that I didn't like and this one is no exception

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Willette 06-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Enjoyable story of agriculture"

    I liked the authors mostly unbiased approach to the history if modern agriculture. Although he didn't get everything perfectly right, his persoective of modern agriculture from an outsiders view is illuminating. I am a soybean breeder and I appreciate Pollan's narrative of our story, or the story of where our food comes from. This is important for everyone to know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Moore 05-14-15
    K. Moore 05-14-15
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    "Great book covers much more than plants"

    Pollan discusses plants as so much more than the simple, discrete objects we tend to view them as.

    Scott Brick's narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DEG II PA 05-13-15
    DEG II PA 05-13-15 Member Since 2011

    Don

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    "Good Book, Lots of Information"
    If you could sum up The Botany of Desire in three words, what would they be?

    Wealth of Information


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Botany of Desire?

    The description of Johnny Appleseed's activities.


    Any additional comments?

    Well researched, very detailed, interesting and unique subject matter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 02-27-15
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 02-27-15 Member Since 2002
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    "Has its good points and interesting but verbose"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend extracts of the book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The history of the apple and potato.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    narrator is fine. the book is too verbose and repeats itself in 3 different way over and over again.


    Do you think The Botany of Desire needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    great ideas and thoughts and concepts. wish it was about half as long. It seemed like a thesis paper that was trying too hard with too much flourish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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