cloth, 256 pp., $22.95
Writing in a vernacular style, journalist Joe Pappalardo expresses his devotion to the sunflower, a plant that has intrigued him to the point of obsession. His devotion to this flower has motivated him to trace the disputed origins and history of the plant and to forecast its bright future as an agricultural product of significant importance around the world. His talent as a reporter is apparent in his interviews with botanists and other authorities; his narrative of the trail of these scientists seeking the origins of the plant is engaging. He creates interest in the subject by relating anecdotes about its value to humanity over time. Though the author may make an occasional error in botanical relationships, such inaccuracies are easily forgiven, as the book makes for fascinating reading for all gardeners.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden