A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (Anglais) Broché – 25 avril 2006
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
“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)
Présentation de l'éditeur
In the sixteenth century, one of the world's most precious commodities was cochineal, a legendary red dye treasured by the ancient Mexicans and sold in the great Aztec marketplaces, where it attracted the attention of the Spanish conquistadors. Shipped to Europe, the dye created a sensation, producing the brightest, strongest red the world had ever seen. Soon Spain's cochineal monopoly was worth a fortune. As the English, French, Dutch, and other Europeans joined the chase for cochineal -- a chase that lasted for more than three centuries -- a tale of pirates, explorers, alchemists, scientists, and spies unfolds. A Perfect Red evokes with style and verve this history of a grand obsession, of intrigue, empire, and adventure in pursuit of the most desirable color on earth.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
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.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
In a nutshell, color, particularly in textiles, was rare and valuable until the early parts of the last century. Amazing that what we now take for granted was beyond our great-great grandparents wildest imaginations. The masses dressed in dull vegetable dyes of beige, muddy yellows, and greys. Only the wealthiest could afford brilliant colors, and wearing it was the ideal way to flaunt their wealth and status.
This book takes us from the discovery in "New Spain" (Mexico) of cochineal, a crushed insect dye which yielded a never before seen brilliant red color. Spain built an empire on cochineal, and went through great lengths to keep the origin of the dye a secret. Ms. Greenfield explores the far reaching effects of cochineal on history: empire building, piracy, espionage, scientific advancements (and infighting), the connotations of red through history, even exploring perceived racism and class distinctions based on lack of color, and later, when the tables turned, a surfeit of color.
Who would have ever though that something as simple as "red" would inextricably tangle itself in history in such a way? Red. Red? Red!
An excellent read for anyone with an interest in history, fashion, textiles, or science.