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Article

Sunflowers

Posted on

Sunflowers

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Joe Pappalardo
publisher:
Overlook
genre:
Nonfiction, Science and Technology

We gave it a B+

”There is a time in every author’s relationship with a topic when he crosses the line into obsession,” says the affable Joe Pappalardo, who seems to find sunflowers everywhere: He claims Hitler invaded Russia because he wanted the country’s sunflower oil and notes that another form of the weed, the Jerusalem artichoke, was rejected as a food source in 17th-century Europe (which is unfortunate, since its use could have averted the Irish potato famine). Though some of Pappalardo’s interview subjects in Sunflowers exude a standard scholarly dryness, Pappalardo himself does not in this lively, compulsively readable account. B+