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Sunflowers Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 13, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 13, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What do Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Osama bin Laden have in common? OK, besides the obvious. Would you believe sunflowers? Ironic, isn’t it, that this cheerful symbol of nature’s purity and wholesome goodness has influenced plans for world domination wrought by modern history’s most reviled despots? Few know that Hitler’s invasion of Russia was largely motivated by a desire to deprive Stalin of a crucial source of cooking oil, or that bin Laden calculatedly established his nascent al-Qaeda in the Sudan through the creation of sunflower-oil production facilities. Fascinating as such arcana is, however, it’s secondary to the trove of entertaining lore Pappalardo spins throughout his engaging and expansive look at a flower so ubiquitous that its critical role in cultural development since the dawn of time often goes overlooked. A glib, upbeat writer and fiercely determined researcher, Pappalardo intrepidly investigates everything from the sunflower’s genetic history and recent bioengineering discoveries to its influence on global economies from the U.S. to Uganda. --Carol Haggas

Review

''There is a time in every author's relationship with a topic when he crosses the line into obsession,'' says the affable Joe Pappalardo, who seems to find sunflowers everywhere: He claims Hitler invaded Russia because he wanted the country's sunflower oil and notes that another form of the weed, the Jerusalem artichoke, was rejected as a food source in 17th-century Europe (which is unfortunate, since its use could have averted the Irish potato famine). Though some of Pappalardo's interview subjects in Sunflowers exude a standard scholarly dryness, Pappalardo himself does not in this lively, compulsively readable account. B+ -- Entertainment Weekly, March 21, 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (March 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585679917
  • ASIN: B003UHU9VK
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,008,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book on a long flight and could not put it down! Who would of thought a book about flowers would be filled with so much history and drama?! From Native Americans to Peter the Great, from Italian oil empires to Wisconsin festivals, this book makes you appreciate the impact the flower has had on humankind from prehistoric times. Another interesting aspect of the book is the perspective of the botanists studying it as a natural hybridizer. The science part of this book is full of intrigue. The economic and political impact of sunflower oil as a commodity is also interesting. The question becomes, "why aren't we planting sunflowers any where in the world people are hungry?" A truly fascinating read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really excited to buy this book. I began reading it and learned some interesting facts about sunflowers. This book is more academic than fun reading! The picture in the front is a bit deceiving. If you are into books about research and lots of details you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for a light read, this is not the book for you!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a relatively narrow academic discourse on sunflower history intended for those who already have a good knowledge of the sunflower plant. As a general reader, this book did not hold my interest very well. The author has done his homework quite well and does incorporate some interesting human encounters, but the perpetual name dropping of obscure researchers and their penchant for publications is distracting. Another issue probably not a fault of the author is the poor, black-and-white quality of the photography for something as colorful as a sunflower is disappointing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The theme my granddaughter wanted for Christmas was anything sunflower. I found this book and since she loves history she was so excited. The book was great and the service was wonderful. It is so nice not to have to pay shipping.
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