A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire


by: Greenfield, Amy Butler
Format: Paperback

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Product Description 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. Review “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.


Product Code: 9780060522766
ISBN: 0060522763
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2006-04-25
Number of Pages: 352 pages
Languages: english
Edition: No Information
Dimension: 5.31 x 0.91 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds