- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (April 25 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060522763
- ISBN-13: 978-0060522766
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire Paperback – Apr 25 2006
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“Delightful, rollicking history . . . A fun read, well-supported by extensive research.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
“Fascinating...Greenfield has given us a superbly researched history of cochineal red, full of angles and tangents, curiosities and arcana.” (Diane Ackerman, Washington Post Book World)
“With A PERFECT RED, she does for [red] what Mark Kurlansky in SALT did for that common commodity.” (Houston Chronicle)
“A fascinating story of greed and subterfuge, mixing fashion, folly and ingenuity in equal measure... Written with style and verve.” (J. H. Elliott, University of Oxford)
“A marvelous book... Meticulously researched, this saga will enchant lovers of historical mysteries, fascinating characters, and world economics.” (Mark Pendergrast, author of UNCOMMON GROUNDS and MIRROR MIRROR)
“A gem of accessible history.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“[An] intricate history...Greenfield paints a broad historical panorama, never neglecting the intimate, eccentric, and often absurd human details.” (Boston Globe)
“Greenfield does what the best historical authors do--follows the thread of a story through history without missing a stitch.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
About the Author
Amy Butler Greenfield's grandfather and great-grandfather were dyers, and she has long been fascinated by the history of color. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in the Adirondacks and graduated from Williams College. As a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, she studied imperial Spain and Renaissance Europe. She now lives with her husband near Boston.
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Mrs. Greenfield starts out in her book with justification for why she's following the color red. Some of these justifications are very thin. But once you get into the details of the book you will be absorbed and as much as you think you know about history, commerce, agriculture, botany, and politics there is always something new to be learned. Somehow I lived my whole life without ever hearing about cochineal (a type of red dye) and variants.
This book is so well written in such detail that you almost want to go out and try some of the experiments with your own creating of the color red.
If you enjoyed this book and the many adventures that Amy Greenfield carries you through then you will also enjoy reading "Green Cargoes" by Anne Dorrance.
read. Like most textile related histories, it reminded me of the PBS
The index and bibliography seem inclusive but somehow she kept indigo
and woad out of the story but that's ok because they have their own
books. She does include Perkin's purple.
As someone with little formal education in European history, but a fan of it all the same, I found the book quite valuable in that it touched on many areas: the Spanish Empire, colonialism, the scientific revolution, Renaissance artists, of course the textile industry.... etc., etc.
Not limiting herself to recounting dry, historical transactions, Greenfield seems to extract from her reference documents the actual personalities of the various players in cochineal's history. Overall, an excellent read that I would recommend to anyone!
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