"Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted...

Editor's Choice

March 19, 2000|By Michael Pakenham

"Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused" (Crown, 273 pages, $23)

In the year 1637 in the Dutch Republic, a single tulip bulb sold for 5,200 guilders, more than 20 times the annual family income of a reasonably respectable artisan. Mike Dash has written a lovely book about one of the loveliest of flowers -- and about the madness than can, and did, seize that most rational of human institions: the market. The characters and the horticulture are as richly fascinating as the insane economics.

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