A Perfect Red

A Perfect Red : Empire, Espionage And The Quest For The Colour Of Desire

3.87 (2,253 ratings by Goodreads)
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A Perfect Red recounts the colourful 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 1519. 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, the French, the 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 for more than three centuries. A Perfect Red tells their stories - true-life tales of mystery, empire, and adventure, in pursuit of the most desirable colour on earth.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 128 x 200 x 34mm | 458.13g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 055277829X
  • 9780552778299
  • 710,565

Review quote

"Greenfield is at her best ... such gaudy and vaunting stories ... would make a great movie" * Independent on Sunday * "In a flexible, multifaceted narrative ... Greenfield spins out, in clipped prose, a unique story ... well stocked with colourful characters ... gripplingly related" * TLS * "An eye-opener" * Literary Review * "A Perfect Red gives you a new respect for what you might have thought was just another colour" * New York Times Book Review * "Superbly researched history of cochineal red, full of angles and tangents, curiosities and arcana ...sprightly and charming" * Washington Post *show more

About Amy Butler Greenfield

AMY BUTLER GREENFIELD studied Spanish medieval history at Harvard and Oxford. She is descended from a family of textile dyers and is a member of the dyers guild in London.show more

Rating details

2,253 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 32% (719)
4 34% (776)
3 25% (563)
2 6% (145)
1 2% (50)
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