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The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle) review List Price: $15 Deal Price : $10.20 You Save : $4.80 (32 %) Or Click Here Usually ships in 24 hours Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping Detail : ASIN: 044900371X Paperback Book Product Description-The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle) A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession.From Florida’s swamps to its courtrooms, the New Yorker writer follows one deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man’s possibly criminal pursuit of an endangered flower. Determined to clone the rare ghost orchid, Polyrrhiza lindenii, John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, along with the Seminole Indians who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean–and the reader–will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.Praise for The Orchid Thief: “Fascinating . . . tales of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing . . . an engrossing journey.”–Los Angeles Times“Irresistible . . . a brilliantly reported account of an illicit scheme to housebreak Florida’s wild and endangered ghost orchid . . . Its central figure is John Laroche, the ‘oddball ultimate’ of a subculture whose members are so enthralled by orchids they ‘pursue them like lovers.’ ”–Minneapolis Star Tribune“Artful . . . in Ms. Orlean’s skillful handling, her orchid story turns out to be distinctly ‘something more.’ . . . [Her] portrait of her sometimes sad-making orchid thief allows the reader to discover acres of opportunity where intriguing things can be found.”–The New York Times“Zestful . . . a swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”–The Wall Street Journal“Deliciously weird . . . compelling.”–Detroit Free Press Orchidelirium is the name the Victorians gave to the flower madness that is for botanical collectors the equivalent of gold fever. Wealthy orchid fanatics of that era sent explorers (heavily armed, more to protect themselves against other orchid seekers than against hostile natives or wild animals) to unmapped territories in search of new varieties of Cattleya and Paphiopedilum. As knowledge of the family Orchidaceae grew to encompass the currently more than 60,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids, orchidelirium might have been expected to go the way of Dutch tulip mania. Yet, as journalist Susan Orlean found out, there still exists a vein of orchid madness strong enough to inspire larceny among collectors. The Orchid Thief centers on south Florida and John Laroche, a quixotic, charismatic schemer once convicted of attempting to take endangered orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp, a state preserve. Laroche, a horticultural consultant who once ran an extensive nursery for the Seminole tribe, dreams of making a fortune for the Seminoles and himself by cloning the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii. Laroche sums up the obsession that drives him and so many others: I really have to watch myself, especially around plants. Even now, just being here, I still get that collector feeling. You know what I mean. I'll see something and then suddenly I get that feeling. It's like I can't just have something--I have to have it and learn about it and grow it and sell it and master it and have a million of it. Even Orlean--so leery of orchid fever that she immediately gives away any plant that's pressed upon her by the growers in Laroche's circle--develops a desire to see a ghost orchid blooming and makes several ultimately unsuccessful treks into the Fakahatchee. Filled with Palm Beach socialites, Native Americans, English peers, smugglers, and naturalists as improbably colorful as the tropical blossoms that inspire them, this is a lyrical, funny, addictively entertaining read. --Barrie Trinkle Related Product: - Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy - Adaptation [Blu-ray] - Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend - The Graduate - Brokeback Mountain http://astore.amazon.com/konhollow-20/detail/044900371X http://store.xiiiv.com/?t=the-orchid-thief-a-true-story-beauty-obsession-ballantine-readers-circle&i=044900371X Customer Reviews: 81 of 83 people found the following review helpful An engaging PEEK..., January 27, 2000 By DAMwriter "David Moore" (Chicago, IL USA) This review is from: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback) First, a few caveats (it's always best to be up-front about ones biases and assumptions): 1) I haven't read Ms. Orlean's 'New Yorker' article, so I have no basis of comparison between it and this book. 2) I have never lived in South Florida, and have only visited Miami Beach twice, so my ability to say what is "true" about Florida's history and culture is somewhat limited and I won't even bother to attempt to verify any of Ms. Orlean's assertions. Fact - or slightly modified fact - I don't know...That being said, this book is a very enjoyable, engaging read. No, it does not have a particularly suspenseful or intriguing STORYline, especially if what you're looking for is an amazing-but-true mystery with high drama and a surprise ending. The author says, from the beginning, that she can only deal in the facts of the case - if she wants to keep this a non-fiction book, she's limited by real events. What she does, very successfully, however, is reveal the... 100 of 105 people found the following review helpful An original, quirky and entertaining book., January 1, 2003 By E. Bukowsky "booklover10" (NY United States) This review is from: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback) Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" is an intriguing look at people who are obsessed with collecting orchids. Originally, Ms. Orlean's main focus was to write a profile of John Laroche in "The New Yorker" magazine. Laroche is an offbeat character who spent a great deal of time and money amassing a huge orchid collection. When Laroche banded together with a group of Seminole Indians to steal orchids from the Fakahatchee Strand, a 63,000-acre preserve in southwest Florida, he was arrested and tried for his crime.Orlean eventually expanded her article on Laroche into this book. She widened the scope of her research and came up with many interesting tidbits about orchids and those who collect them. For example, I learned that orchids often outlive human beings. In fact, orchids can theoretically live forever, since they have no natural enemies. Some orchid owners designate a person as an "orchid heir" in their wills, since the owners expect that their precious orchids will... 48 of 50 people found the following review helpful Flower Power, August 25, 2002 By sweetmolly (RICHMOND, VA USA) This review is from: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback) "The Orchid Thief" is an expansion of an article written for "The New Yorker." It is well worth your while to read the book. The author enlarges on the history of collecting orchids, orchid hunters, and the flower itself. She is to be commended for her research on all and the Seminole Indians as well. Did you know the Seminoles are technically still at war with the United States? They are the only tribe that never signed a treaty.The title character, John LaRoche is almost-but-not-quite worth the focus he receives. He has a quirky mindset, an enthusiasm that is catching; but his total self-absorption gets tiresome. His knowledge and keenness for the art and science of plants is entertaining. But hey, the guy is a small time crook, a trail of unrealized dreams, and a very poor friend. In spite of many denials, I think Susan had more than a mild crush on him; why else put up with all his inconsiderate nonsense?The description of the various orchids is... iption of the various orchids is...
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