Where the earth is churned, poppies grow. In the aftermath of the horrific trench warfare of the First World War, the poppy – sprouting across the killing fields of France and Belgium, then immortalized in John McCrae’s moving poem – became a symbol of loss, remembrance, and redemption. Yet the poppy has been intricately entwined in human conflict, suffering, and spiritual cleansing for millennia. From the ancient Egyptian fights over prized dream-potions to the morphine addicts of the American Civil War, to the British entanglements in the Opium Wars with China and the struggle today to hold at bay Afghanistan’s tribal narcotics trade, there is the poppy. Now, Nicholas Saunders shares the definitive history of this ever-enduring icon – a story that is at turns tragic, provocative, eye-opening, and, most essentially, uplifting. Author bio: Nicholas Saunders is the world’s leading authority on the anthropology and archaeology of the First World War. His exhibition of trench art from the war was for five years a centrepiece of the ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ in Ypres, Belgium. The author of more than twenty books and dozens of academic monographs, he has appeared in numerous documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic Channel.