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Second Nature: A Gardener's Education [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Michael Pollan , Inc. Brilliance Audio
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 2012 1469240777 978-1469240770 MP3 Una
In his articles and in bestselling 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. Chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the seventy-five greatest books ever written about gardening, 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. “Second Nature reads like brilliant entertainment, but it is serious wisdom. Michael Pollan…is a genuine heir to my favorite nature writer, Mark Twain.” — Simon Schama, The Boston Globe

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From Publishers Weekly

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 Pollard, an editor at Harper's , chronicles his growth as a gardener in Connecticut's rocky Housatonic Valley. Starting out as a "child of Thoreau," Pollard 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. Pollard 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; Pollard'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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Pollan, executive editor of Harper's and self-proclaimed amateur gardener, has written a book that is by turns charming and annoying, insightful and shallow, droll and banal. His collection of a dozen essays arranged by season is based on his experiences over a seven-year period in his Connecticut garden, along with vignettes from garden history. Unfortunately, Pollan's text is characterized by dubious and unsupported generalities, self-conscious humor, and extended, labored metaphors, and his lack of gardening authority dooms the book to superficiality. Experienced gardeners and devotees of garden literature will find little here that is original. Only for comprehensive gardening collections.
- Richard Shotwell, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I had to read this for a college course. I didn't know what to expect, but half way into the book I was enraptured. Literally. Pollan is a very adept writer, and he has a lot of depth to what he writes. He piles metaphor on top of symbolizm on top of metaphor. If you don't pick up on everything, that's alright because the book is simply enjoyable. His anecdotes about life and gardening are the icing on this book, and I'd recommend it simply for that pleasure. But there is substance here. Pollan is making a statement about the relationship between culture and nature. He writes about how we, as a species, as a culture, try to seperate what we live in (culture, cities, whatever) from what we live near (nature, the environment, wildness). He says that that is more detrimental than any polution or destruction we could possibly do to our earth. We, as a culture, need to learn to live not simply "in" nature, but "with nature." In response to the chapter on Cathedral Pines, he uses that to illustrate how the Conservationists, the people who owned the land, were trying to save this little "virgin" land. This little area in this New England community that was untouched by humanity. It was destroyed by nature (in the form of a tornado) and they, as a community, should let nature do with the forest as it wanted. Nature knows best. What Pollan says is that that forest wasn't untouched by man. Man had inhabited the area for over two hundred years (not including Native Americans - which no one ever does) and the trees they were saving WERE affected by civiliztion. That forest, as the community knew and loved it, was destroyed by nature. The community could've possibly planted knew trees, cleaned out the old dead ones, and made everything back the way it was. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars Waiting to exhale.... Feb. 16 2001
SECOND NATURE by Michael Pollen is a collection of esays that are not always well-connected or well-written. Mr. Pollen has won awards for his essays and some of them are quite good, however, the book is uneven. I think many of the readers who provided glowing reviews must have concentrated on the front half of the book which is autobiographical and hysterically funny.
NATURE contains several distinct sections Pollan calls "Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter" but his essays do not "follow" the gardening year. For example, "Fall", the third section of the book is about the destruction of Cathedral Pines, a nature preserve owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. Mr. Pollan thinks the local town folk (he is one) should have decided "what to do" in the aftermath of the storm which toppled the old pine trees that had inhabited the Cathedral Pines since the days of the American Revolution. Pollan would have done better to call this section "Why I think I understand Mother Nature better than the Nature Conservancy." And, maybe he does, but his essay is angry, and his anger affects his argument. After reading his essay, I am not persuaded the Nature Conservancy failed since Pollan fails to provide their side of the argument which might have been quite reasonable.
The best part of Pollan's book contains his autobiographical essays about life with his father who refused to mow the lawn much to the consternation of his upscale neighbors; life with his maternal grandfather who made mega-bucks as a professional gardener and green grocer; and Pollan's own attempts to take up gardening as an avocation. Anyone who has ever gardened will enjoy these sections because as all good gardeners know, most folks learn through trial and error. Mr.
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By A Customer
Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that our relationship to the land must be one of either two choices: either we ruthlessly exploit it, with no regard for any but short term use, or we refuse to "meddle" in it at all, letting nature do what it will. _Second Nature_ explores the third alternative, that of working with nature respectfully to produce something that we intend. Believing that our relationship with nature can not be broken down into simple nature versus culture arguments, Pollan explores the overlapping of nature and culture. To that end, he discusses Americans' historical and contemporary ideas of what makes a garden a garden and attitudes toward gardening and wilderness. There is wonderful, thought-provoking commentary on the tyranny of the American lawn, the sexuality of roses, class conflict in the garden, privacy, trees, weeds, and what it means to have a green thumb. Pollan's stories of his own adventures in the garden are interesting and often amusing. His writing is thoughtful and his insight frequently unexpected, as when, in the chapter " 'Made Wild by Pompous Catalogs' ", he points out that garden catalogues are selling not merely seed but their ideas about gardens. Pollan is also highly readable. It is hard not to like an author who says things like "...the Victorian middle class simply couldn't deal with the rose's sexuality" or "...there is a free lunch and its name is photosynthesis". _Second Nature_ is well worth reading
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read.
Great book for both seasoned and beginner gardeners, for anyone who loves nature. Interesting insights into the relationship we, as North Americans, have with nature. Read more
Published on June 12 2010 by K. Bergmann
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing and entertaining philosophical essay on gardening
Pollan is a joy to read. Looking at seed catalogues and mowing the lawn take on new meaning.
Published on Sept. 3 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The best read of all gardening books
You do not have to be a gardener to really enjoy this book; it's that well written and interesting.
Published on April 3 2002 by Jere Franklin Ownby
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, funny, philosophical
This is a favorite that I've returned to at least twice. Pollan engages with his skill in writing, but also his interesting thoughts on the mundane that make them seem intriguing. Read more
Published on March 7 2002 by "dtcb171"
3.0 out of 5 stars I beg to differ...
I don't intend to question Pollan's ability as a writer, nor do I care to check up on his interpretation of the history of hybrid roses or British garden design, but as a gardener... Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2002 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars I pondered, I laughed, I enJOYED
This is simply a wonderful book. As a gardener, I often recognized myself in the author's reflections, although I'd not taken the time to articulate many of his thoughtful... Read more
Published on Dec 3 2001 by "lianago9rs"
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! My sentiments exactly!
This book verbalized the fascination with gardening as a form of human interaction with (and manipulation of) nature. Interesting ideas and entertaining stories!
Published on July 18 2001 by B. DuBois
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I found this book on the "giveaway" shelf of my apartment building and it turned out to be the best thing I'd read in about a year.
Published on Feb. 27 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun book!
I read this book for a college course, "Religion, Ethics, and the Environment." Most of the books were (as the course title suggests) very heavy texts...yawn. Read more
Published on March 14 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, fabulous writing.
This beautifully written book is a must for any garden lover. Michael Pollan's thought's on gardening are educated, witty and poignant. I enjoyed every word!
Published on March 8 1999
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