A Perfect Red

A Perfect Red A Perfect Red Recounts The Colorful History Of Cochineal, A Legendary Red Dye That Was Once One Of The World S Most Precious Commodities Treasured By The Ancient Mexicans, Cochineal Was Sold In The Great Aztec Marketplaces, Where It Attracted The Attention Of The Spanish Conquistadors In 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 Desperate To Find Their Own Sources Of The Elusive Dye, The English, French, Dutch, And Other Europeans Tried To Crack The Enigma Of Cochineal Did It Come From A Worm, A Berry, A Seed Could It Be Stolen From Mexico And Transplanted To Their Own Colonies Pirates, Explorers, Alchemists, Scientists, And Spies All Joined The Chase For Cochineal, A Chase That Lasted Than Three Centuries A Perfect Red Tells Their Stories True Life Tales Of Mystery, Empire, And Adventure, In Pursuit Of The Most Desirable Color On Earth

Amy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer Since then, she has become an award winning author Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin Madison, and Oxford She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double dark chocolate cake, and plots misch

[Ebook] ➠ A Perfect Red  By Amy Butler Greenfield – Hookupgoldmilf.info
  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • A Perfect Red
  • Amy Butler Greenfield
  • English
  • 14 August 2019
  • 9780060522766

10 thoughts on “A Perfect Red

  1. says:

    Cochineal was the source of rich red color for centuries What is it A question for which Europe had no true answer for hundreds of years This book tells the tale of the color red, how the color was viewed in society in various periods of time An indicator of class distinction, or of harlotry, for example It is primarily a tale of adventure in which many attempt to locate the true source of this very valuable product, then try to steal it Not only adventurers but scientists applied their skills to unveiling its secrets, with some making notable errors in the attempt Cochineal is in fact the product of a small insect that lived primarily on a particular cactus and was so delicate of constitution that it was an almost impossible challenge for anyone who managed to succeed in transporting it back to Europe for cultivation Artificial red supplanted cochineal during the industrial revolution, undercutting the market for the natural product severely Concern that the artificial product was carcinogenic allowed the organic cochineal product to survive Today, cultivation of the little bugs survives, but as a boutique product used mostly by native Mesoamericans for their products.It may be a bit geeky, but I really enjoyed learning about the history of something I would never have given any thought, the actual cultural history of a color Can Blue be far behind EXTRA STUFFThis video, from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, offers a nice visual

  2. says:

    Since I seem to be on a roll talking about books that have to do with knitting, I ll add this one Cochineal, who knew Years out from reading the book, I still get pleasure thinking about it when I notice it on the bookshelf Cochineal is a dyestuff derived from parasitic colonies of scale insects that are native to Mexican cacti For centuries it was a commodity that drove empire and espionage worldwide, as the subtitle says Before cochineal was available from the Spanish colonies, there was no good way to dye anything in a beautiful red I suppose that you could take many things that we now take for granted especially agricultural commodities with historical roots and spin as fascinating a history, but this one was particularly good because it told me about something I had never remotely thought about and I ended up looking at the world of fiber and fabric around me quite differently Shortly after I finished reading this book I ran across some yarn hand dyed with cochineal but couldn t quite justify buying it Now I regret it bitterly because I ve never seen any other This book makes me still want to own a piece of the history and romance of red dye.

  3. says:

    Extremely interesting chronicle of what was once a highly lucrative commodity that nobody really remembers today a bug that produces a red dye that, at the time, couldn t be beat.We all know Spain mined the new world for its gold and silver but cochineal was an empire money maker for hundreds of years, mainly because it kept the insect a secret, exporting only the dye product to those willing to pay handsomely for it but never revealing its origin Even after it was proved to be an insect stealing the bug proved near impossible, and cultivating it even so.This book explores, through the lens of the cochineal industry, the history of textiles and dyeing, the importance and meaning of color, the rise and fall of the Spanish empire, the empires and countries that took its place, stories of industrial espionage, how the modern chemical companies started out by making dyes, and much much .

  4. says:

    I will never get tired of how interesting history can be, especially in the hands of a good author I will also never get tired of the thrill that comes with focusing on one specific thing in this case, cochineal an insect based red dye and then realizing how this one thing is connected to so many other aspects of history I adored this book it taught me things I didn t know, added new layers and complexity to things I did know, and made me stop and think about something as ubiquitous and everyday as color in a whole new light Fascinating stuff

  5. says:

    This book reminds me of an optical illusion that looks like one thing when you look at it one way, but looks like something totally different when viewed another way think of the ubiquitous Escher posters Viewed from one perspective, A Perfect Red is a quirky and witty, albeit highly selective, history of Western Civilization from 1500 to the present, with a special emphasis on the Spanish Empire From another perspective, it is a 261 page history of the trade in a particular commodity that has no economic significance today but was marginally important 200 to 400 years ago.The commodity in question is cochineal Dactylopius coccus , a red dye prepared from the bodies of a kind of insect that attacks and lives in and on prickly pear cacti pads that grow in Mexico and the American Southwest The Spanish conquistadors discovered that native Mexicans could dye clothing a brighter, vivid red than any available in Europe The dye was prepared by a painstaking labor intensive process of scraping the bodies of the insects off the cacti Cochineal became a valuable export for the Spanish Empire because other Europeans could not duplicate the intense red color it produced.The insect that produces the dye is so small that in the days before good microscopes, Europeans including the Spaniards had no idea of the nature of the dye Most of them thought it was a form of inorganic matter The finished product was quite valuable and easy to transport, so it attracted many pirates However, it was extremely difficult to produce anywhere but Mexico because the prickly pear cacti did not thrive in many other places and the live insects were very sensitive to cold The Spanish maintained tight security on the production of the product and enforced severe penalties on anyone who attempted to break the crown s monopoly The story of how the Spanish maintained their monopoly and how other Europeans tried to discover the secret of the dye is an interesting one that stretches from the 16th to the 18th centuries In the process of telling a little story the dye trade , the author s back story account encompasses the reigns and characters of Charles V and Phillip II, the Hapsburg Empire, the conquests of Mexico and Peru, and the continuing rivalries of Spain, England, Holland, and France In this respect, the dye trade acts as a microcosm of a much broader European history, a conceit that Greenfield handles deftly However, the author s technique of filtering the history of Western Europe through the lens of the red dye trade breaks down in the 19th century Spain s monopoly in cochineal persisted, but by then the country had declined significantly as it gradually lost its overseas empire and faced bankruptcy Moreover, the German chemical industry developed synthetic dyes of comparable quality I think Greenfield overstates her case when she attributes the rise of the whole German chemical industry to efforts to find a substitute for cochineal And when she traces those efforts to the development of poisonous gas for World War I, the chain of causation is too diffuse to be credible.So back to the optical illusion When the book is viewed as political history seen as a partial function of the cochineal trade, it works pretty well from 1500 to about 1830, but then has nothing worthwhile to say If viewed as merely a history of the trade in a particular red dye, it is no significant than a history of the trade in copra or jute Evaluation This is a good book for those who like niche knowledge, or who prefer history in entertaining forms.Rating 2.5 5

  6. says:

    Did you know that red is the oldest color term in all languages save black and white No You aren t an artist, say Although creative genes are welcome, this book envelops catchy themes such as pirates, secrecy, espionage, social standing of colors and dyestuffs, etc and isn t merely for the artistic audience A Perfect Red demonstrates the soap opera values of history and combines a valuable sweeping resource of art, history, and science.Having enjoyed and learned in the four page prologue of A Perfect Red then in some other books I knew this would be a winner Amy Butler Greenfield s passion and knowledge is strikingly gripping and causes mutual interest with the reader A Perfect Red initially discusses the background of the world of textiles dyes and Europe s quest for rich fabrics as a social symbol Although the information is academic and scholarly in nature Greenfield s writing style is simply beautiful, therefore, not exhausting the reader with too much menial information Greenfield is the type of author which grammarians would smile at The wealth of particulars in A Perfect Red is simply remarkable With each line the reader learns a new and exemplary fact Who knew the color red was so riveting and symbolic Unlike some other historical commodity study books think the spice trade , Greenfield s book on the color trade reads easily with the endearing drama of a fiction novel Further, one can t deny the extensive research involved while Greenfield doesn t present these in a speculating or condescending way There are some unsatisfying elements to consider Unless you have an avid interest in the Spanish Conquest and subsequent Mexican Revolution, you may find these descriptions a bit lengthy and over detailed and somewhat straying on the topic of cochineal dyestuffs Yes, these topics are crucial to understand the history, standardization, and economy of cochineal but it was a bit much This resulted in the pace of the book slowing down throughout A Perfect Red began with a bang and then found a slower path to follow Meaning, it lacked a steady and consistent attention grabbing story arc Another over detailed, slow factor was Greenfield s habit of diving much too deeply into the backgrounds bios of each individual involved in the color trade which aren t always necessary for the flow of the history This again effects the gripping sensations of the historical account The books gains speed toward the conclusion of the story with the descriptions of the downfall of cochineal and with the advent of synthetic dyes and William Henry Perkin s glories in the textile and dye industries This section is in the speed of describing the social aspects of color and synthetic dye creation discovery emulating the excitement in the beginning of the book However, the very end was weak, not memorable, and spoke about other colors than leaving a lasting impact of food for thought on the color red or red dyestuffs.If you are seeking a book on the pure symbolism value of cochineal and dyestuffs, A Perfect Red is the wrong source However, if you are interested in a complete three century span story of the historical rise and fall of cochineal then Amy Butler Greenfield s A Perfect Red will satisfy your craving.

  7. says:

    For obvious reasons, I really wanted to like this book Unfortunately, I am easily bored by political histories and the bulk of this book is just that It s really a history of the cultivation and use of the cochineal bug for red dyes, which is a story very similar to the cultivation and use of cacao, quinine, coca, sugar, coffee, bananas, and many other New World products that Europeans pillaged from the Americas, and that I have already read about For me, the book didn t get interesting until it reached the 19th Century and the life of William Perkins, the man who first discovered analine dyes and pioneered the manufacture of synthetic dyes in general, which led to synthetic medicines, plastics and weaponry, among other things , and whose story is far better told in one of my favorite books, Mauve How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World, by Simon Garfield This brief chapter, which accounts for roughly 5% of the 261 pages of text, was the only part of the book that I could read without wanting to doze The rest was an exhausting repetition of examples of red color as used by historical cultures, as well as the gruesome and oft told tale of colonization and the import trade to Europe from the 16th 19th Centuries One other item of note was a description of the alchemistic science employed to create natural dyes in the Middle Ages According to the back cover, the LA Times described it as rollicking, which is probably the last word I would use in reference to this book For anyone interested in reading about color and dyes, I highly recommend Mauve How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World, by Simon Garfield And if you are interested in colonialization and the European trade of natural materials from the New World during the 16th to 19th Centuries, you should look into Seeds of Change Six Plants that Transformed Mankind, by Henry Hobhouse It s not a page turner, but if you read it, you will never need to read anything on the subject again.

  8. says:

    I m afraid that A Perfect Red Empire Espionage, the Quest for the Color of Desire didn t do a whole lot for me And I don t think it s Amy Butler Greensfield s fault You see, I was kind of confused when I picked this up at my local library s used bookstore in July 2011 The kindly volunteers who manage the store had shelved it on the hardback fiction shelf and when I read the synopsis I thought that this must fictional history I ve read those before heavy on the history, but still a fictional account Well No This actually is the factual history of the perfect red and expecting a fictional story, I have to say that the historical story bored me We got really hung up on those Spanish conquistadors and how they didn t take full advantage of the cochineal tribute that their Indian conquests were providing But tales of mystery, empire, and adventure this ain t Another reviewer on GoodReads mentions the blurb on the back cover where the LA Times says that this book is rollicking No, it s not Informative Yes In depth Sure too much so for someone looking for tales of mystery, espionage, or a rollicking good story Two stars.Full review first posted on my blog My Reader s Block Please request permission before reposting Thanks.

  9. says:

    A Perfect Red was tres informative Greenfield does a nice of detailing the background of cloth dying up through the Renaissance Dyers were suspect in olden times because they changed things Their use of putrid smelling solutions including urine didn t add to their social likability index Formulae and techniques were guarded like nuclear secrets Strong red was an ever elusive hue The conquest of the New World changed all that The introduction of cochineal dye to Europe added to the fierce competition for colonial expansion and revolutionized the textile industry Even though the humble cochineal, a tiny scale insect, was the hero of the book, I was intrigued by the chapters that detailed the discovery of synthetic dyes, perhaps because they succinct and less detailed that other parts of the book I found myself getting bogged down in sections that I thought I would have found interesting All in all though, A Perfect Red is worthwhile read.

  10. says:

    I often enjoy histories of small or offbeat subjects It can be a great way to learn obscure things and to think about bigger historical events in a different way Amy Greenfield s history of cochineal Europe s premier red dyestuff is a terrific example of this genre A Perfect Red weaves together the cultural history of the color red, particularly in textiles, has had in the West with the natural history of the insects and plants required to create cochineal and the political history of centuries of colonialism and competition among the European powers Well written, well researched and engaging.

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