©2001 by Michael Pollan; (P)2006 by Audio Evolution, LLC
"[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)
One of the very few books I couldn't finish. There was very little hard science, which is what I wanted. Most of what I heard is now taught in middle school. And the section on apples was almost totally about the legend and reality of Johnny Appleseed. I too quit after the apple section. So different from The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I found fascinating. Same narrator for both, yet in this book he struck the wrong tone.
I found this book a bit more interesting than The Omnivore's Dilemma. He saves his political screed against the evils of "big agriculture" until the last chapter. The chapters on the apple, cannibis, and the tulip are pretty interesting, and when he isn't preaching the virtues of organic gardening, even the article on the potato is pretty good. Still the narrative seems "padded out" with lots of extraneous literary conceits. At many points in the book, I found myself mumbling "get to the point!".
great read/listen. this will extend your understanding of what/how/why we eat. i hope he keeps these books coming and continues to expose the truth! pollan for president--or at least secretary of agriculture!!!
on a quest to read Audible's entire nonfiction science section...
I'm on a quest to ingest pretty much every science book Audible has to offer (at least in the biological sciences). I have a long way to go but I've done quite a few now; at least 25. My hat is off here to the quality of Michael Pollan's research, writing and thinking; a truly unique perspective and well-reasoned points of view. Some passages are so eloquent and poetic that they absolutely left me agog. But underneath the prose is a scientific acumen and ability to theorize based on the facts that is impressive; he really has some interesting ideas here. They'd be difficult to prove scientifically but they're fun to comtemplate. Not so sure his reasoning was right on associating flowers with the demise of dinosaurs but I'm certainly no authority.
Scott Brick's reading was absolutely pitch-perfect; it's really the best match of writing and reading I have heard in the science books I've listened to. Brick knows how and when to inflect Pollan's prose with just the right note of humor, sarcasm (a very hard task for readers, apparently) or seriousness. He's never monotonous or droning and he's lively without being contrived.
Omnivore's Dilemma (also read by Brick) is a more influential and important book but Pollan's passion and lyricism really comes through in this and it's just fun to journey through history, science and contemporary agriculture with Pollan. If you've read this far, I really don't think you'll be disappointed with this book so give it a try!
This book has everything you can wish for. It has love, beautiful sex, philosophy, anthropology, poetry, history, mythology, science, and art. It is about pleasure. It serves both the senses and the mind. It makes you laugh, smile, sigh... in delight at every page. And Scott Brick's reading serves Pollan's glorious imagery to perfection.
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