The Orchid Thief

The Orchid Thief

Book - 1998
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In Susan Orlean's mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had planned to clone the orchids and then sell them for a small fortune to impassioned collectors. After he was caught in the act, Laroche set off one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native Amer-ican activists, and devoted orchid collectors. The result is a tale that is strange, compelling, and hilarious.          New Yorker writer Susan Orlean followed Laroche through swamps and into the eccentric world of Florida's orchid collectors, a subculture of aristocrats, fanatics, and smugglers whose obsession with plants is all-consuming. Along the way, Orlean learned the history of orchid collecting, discovered an odd pattern of plant crimes in Florida, and spent time with Laroche's partners, a tribe of Seminole Indians who are still at war with the United States.          There is something fascinating or funny or truly bizarre on every page of The Orchid Thief: the story of how the head of a famous Seminole chief came to be displayed in the front window of a local pharmacy; or how seven hundred iguanas were smuggled into Florida; or the case of the only known extraterrestrial plant crime. Ultimately, however, Susan Orlean's book is about passion itself, and the amazing lengths to which people will go to gratify it. That passion is captured with singular vision in The Orchid Thief, a once-in-a-lifetime story by one of our most original journalists.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 1998
ISBN: 9780679447399
0679447393
Branch Call Number: 635.9344 ORL 1998
Characteristics: 284 p

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y
yontichat
Jan 06, 2017

Loved this book - it made me laugh out loud as well - but this is a winner for sure - can at times get a little too much into details about things that needent be - but overall i loved this book

k
kelperhelper09
Sep 13, 2012

Such a great book and I recommend it for all native americans and lovers of orchids! Very good style of writing!

daymakerdave May 10, 2011

Well I now know more about Florida and collection orchids than I ever imagined. This book is interesting in it's very in depth look at the wierd and wild world of rare orchid collectors. Interesting but by about page 175 I couldn't care less. If you want to know absolutely everything about orchids then you'll like this. If you're looking for a story about orchids or the theft of them, you will be dissappointed.

s
ssteinwedel
Nov 18, 2009

Orchid collectors

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