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Second Nature : A Gardener's Education
In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere. "As delicious a meditation on one man's relationships with the Earth as any you are likely to come upon" (The New York Times Book Review), Second Nature captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation. With chapters ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn, a dispatch from one man's war with a woodchuck, to an essay about the sexual politics of roses, Pollan has created a passionate and eloquent argument for reconceiving our relationship with nature.
This isn't so much a how-to on gardening as a how-to on thinking about gardening. It follows the course of the natural year, from spring through winter, as [Pollan], an editor at Harper's , chronicles his growth as a gardener in Connecticut's rocky Housatonic Valley. Starting out as a "child of Thoreau," [Pollan] soon realized that society's concept of culture as the enemy of nature would get him a bumper crop of weeds and well-fed woodchucks but no vegetables to eat. Far more serviceable materially and philosophically, he now finds, is the metaphor of a garden, where nature and culture form a harmonious whole. [Pollan] finds ample time for musing on how his own tasks fit in with the overall scheme of existence; thus, there are chapters titled "Compost and Its Moral Imperatives" and "The Idea of a Garden." Although serious in import, the writing is never ponderous; [Pollan]'s wit flashes throughout, and particularly in anecdotes about his youth: one memorable incident has his father mowing his initials in the front yard after being reproached by a suburban neighbor about his overgrown lawn.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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August 11, 2003
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