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Second Nature: A Gardener's Education Paperback – Sep 2003

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Paperback, Sep 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Oto; Reprint edition (Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802140114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802140111
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His book The Omnivore's Dilemma, about the ethics and ecology of eating, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of In Defence of Food, The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature, and the upcoming Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
My first garden was a place no grown-up ever knew about, even though it was in the backyard of a quarter-acre suburban plot. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Michael Pollan is writing for an American audience, but this book is, for quite different reasons, fascinating and thought-provoking to a British reader. In Britain, as in most of Europe, there is not a square inch of ground which hasn't been used, managed and often cultivated by man for thousands of years. From the Neolithic hut circles high in the Dartmoor heather to the Saxon coppice-stools still flourishing in the depths of the wood, even the wildest bits of Britain are in a sense, garden; it's something we take for granted. When the first settlers arrived, the (man-made) open glades and groves of New England were regarded as a kind of Eden, an untouched Arcadia, and the Native Americans as archetypes of the Noble Savage. That attitude soon changed, and the rest is history. Only in the mid-nineteenth century, when the European had almost succeeded in obliterating everything natural within US boundaries, did a movement start to preserve, and idolise, what remained of the "Wilderness". Out of this reaction grew an attitude to nature which is curiously schizophrenic. Michael Pollan explores this strange relationship and, through his meditations, the European understands a lot about the culture of the United States.

To an American, the area round his or her house, no matter its size, is a "yard". Gardening is "yard work" - a strange masculine blend of tightly controlling nature while paying lip service to revering it. He explains the history and psychology of the American passion for vast areas of mown grass, stretching without boundaries along the fronts of miles of suburban properties, and explores the social pressure not to deviate from the "American way" in your yard.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Granlund on 1 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
I love this book and have read it many times. It is not a book about the practical aspects of gardening, but it captures the essence of why some of us like to get out there with a spade and try to improve on our surroundings. It is philisophical, funny, profound and inspiring, just the thing to read during winter.
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By James Firth on 30 April 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a gardener this is a fascinating read with real insight into our relationship with nature. It comes from a very American perspective, and informs about American history and psychology towards nature. It marries this with a personal history and authors own tales of building a garden.
I've walked away from it with new ways of thinking about gardening and it's role in our lives. Great book!
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By Elise Z on 11 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
excellent engagement with the nature society relations that every gardener is confronted with. Written in the early 90s, still relevant today.
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