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Michael Pollan
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http://www.michaelpollan.com
Profile created January 26, 2008
Books
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008)
    Writing In Defense of Food, and affirming the joy of eating, Pollan suggests that if we would pay more for better, well-grown food, but buy less of it, we'll benefit ourselves, our communities, and the environment at large. Taking a clear-eyed look at what science does and does not know about the links between diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about the question of what to eat that is informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach.

    In Defense of Food reminds us that, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, the solutions to the current omnivore's dilemma can be found all around us.

    In looking toward traditional diets the world over, as well as the foods our families-and regions-historically enjoyed, we can recover a more balanced, reasonable, and pleasurable approach to food. Michael Pollan's bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives and enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy.

  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006)
    A national bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us— whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed—he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.

  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001)
    In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant ? thought this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?

    In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings ? and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?

    Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.

  • Second Nature: A Gardener's Education (1991, 2002)
    Eight years ago, Harper's Magazine editor Michael Pollan bought an old Connecticut dairy farm. He planted a garden and attempted to follow Thoreau's example: do not impose your will upon the wilderness, the woodchucks, or the weeds. That ethic did not, of course, work. But neither did pesticides or firebombing the woodchuck burrow. So Michael Pollan began to think about the troubled borders between nature and contemporary life.

    The result is a funny, profound, and beautifully written book in the finest tradition of American nature writing. It inspires thoughts on the war of the roses; sex and class conflict in the garden; virtuous composting; the American lawn; seed catalogs, and the politics of planting a tree. A blend of meditation, autobiography, and social history, Second Nature is ultimately a modern Walden: a true classic for our time.

  • A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams (1997, 2008)
    When writer Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was an award-winning treatise on the borders between nature and contemporary life, the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. Now Pollan turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut property--a place in which he hoped to read, write and daydream, built with his two own unhandy hands.

    Invoking the titans of architecture, literature and philosophy, from Vitrivius to Thoreau, from the Chinese masters of feng shui to the revolutionary Frank Lloyd Wright, Pollan brilliantly chronicles a realm of blueprints, joints and trusses as he peers into the ephemeral nature of "houseness" itself. From the spark of an idea to the search for a perfect site to the raising of a ridgepole, Pollan revels in the infinitely detailed, complex process of creating a finished structure. At once superbly written, informative and enormously entertaining, A Place of My Own is for anyone who has ever wondered how the walls around us take shape--and how we might shape them ourselves.

    A Place of My Own recounts his two-and-a-half-year journey of discovery in an absorbing narrative that deftly weaves the day-to-day work of design and building--from siting to blueprint, from the pouring of foundations to finish carpentry--with reflections on everything form the power of place to shape our lives to the question of what constitutes "real work" in a technological society.

    A book about craft that is itself beautifully crafted, linking the world of the body and material things with the realm of mind, heart, and spirit, A Place of My Own has received extraordinary praise:

See also:
  • Visionary Plant Consciousness: The Shamanic Teachings of the Plant World (2007), J. P. Harpignies, ed.
    23 leading experts reveal the ways that psychoactive plants allow nature’s “voice” to speak to humans and what this communication means for our future
     

    Visionary plants have long served indigenous peoples and their shamans as enhancers of perception, thinking, and healing. These plants can also be important guides to the reality of the natural world and how we can live harmoniously in it.

    In Visionary Plant Consciousness, editor J. P. Harpignies has gathered presentations from the Bioneers annual conference of environmental and social visionaries that explore how plant consciousness affects the human condition. Twenty-three leading ethnobotanists, anthropologists, medical researchers, and cultural and religious figures present their understandings of the nature of psychoactive plants and their significant connection to humans. What they reveal is that these plants may help us access the profound intelligence in nature--the “mind of nature”--that we must learn to understand in order to survive our ecologically destructive way of life.

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