Its a blooming good read

Photo0201The Book

Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany

Author(s)

Michael J. Balick and Paul Alan Cox

Year

2005

What it says on the back cover

ADVANCE PRAISE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

“Two of the worlds leading ethnobotanists have teamed up to produce a most important book to explain ethnobotany, the science of people and plants. A great strength is that the authors have experience in different parts of the world. This brings  a text replete with fascinating examples of plant uses from around the world.”  -Sir Ghillean Prance, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

“Throughout in scope, elegant in execution, far -reaching in implications for conservation, this is a book that students and teachers of ethnobotany, as well as others interested in the wondrous world of plants, have been waiting for” – Wade Davis, author of One River and The Serpent and the Rainbow

“There is no question in my mind that readers in widespread fields will find Plants, People, and Culture a fascinating step towards heightening general interest in ethnobotany.”- Richard Evans Schultes, Harvard University

“This splendidly produced and most elegantly written book sets the plant kingdom firmly in its role as a major force in our history and civilization.”  – John L Harper, University of Wales

“This is an exciting book, challenging our viewpoints about indigenous peoples and their remarkable knowledge of plants and their pharmacological properties that the Western would is anxious to possess. The authors’ enthusiasm for their subjected is reflected on every page, which glows with interesting facts and concepts about plants and their interactions with human kind” – R.Bruce Knox, University of Melbourne

“I find this book to be fascinating reading, and its also beautifully illustrated. I can strongly recommend it to everybody who is interested in plants”. -Gunnar Samuelsso, Uppsala University

“A magnificent book prepared by two of the most talented ethnobotanists of the new generation. The authors should be congratualated for providing us with such a wide variety of fascinating topics in a single book.”- Laurent Rivier, University of Lausanne

What made me pick up this book?

As I have done a lot of writing these last few weeks and read several chapters of one of my textbooks for my degree I am now faced with the task on doing an assignment on whether the non human world is considered just as important as the human world and with this I must select a reading which I can quote from to back up my arguments. It was then I came across this book whilst searching for subjects on climate change, biodiversity, rising sea levels in Tuvalu and much much more.

About this book

This book is indeed an ideal companion for students, teachers and people that have an interest in the non human world. Immediately whilst researching, I knew that this was a subject that interested me greatly as I am very much interested in sustainability, and have a number of books on herbs, spices, cooking, plants, people, health and psychology.

Combine all these ‘ingredients’ together and I have discovered that I am now keen to read more and learn more from the science of ethnobotany. My interests actually reflect this one subject. Even my love for travel and food are covered.

Broken up into six sections, this book is nicely put together however it would have been equally as nice had its photographs being in colour as initially I felt the book was somewhat lackluster with its photos making me feel as the book had been photocopied and binded and then put together to make a book.

But as I read on I noticed that some of these photographs are old, including one of William Withering an English physician and botanist who treated patients with dropsy with the foxglove plant and a photograph of a 1597 book known as Gerald’s Herball which is a “complication of information on medicinal plants, extensive referred to by physicians in search of herbal remedies” (Balick and Cox, 2005 p 14) just to name a few.

Is this book worth buying?

This book is informative, provoking and filled with many interesting articles that will appeal to most readers with an interest in society, science, botany and medicine. I do not own a book on Ethnobotany but I know that I will be looking for one like this one or one that is similar now. Reading this book has given me so much more depth of knowledge in the non human world that it fascinates me, encourages me to read more and to look at other lifeforms in ways I never thought of or had seen before studying this fascinating subject.

Four stars

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