The Poppy: A Cultural History from Ancient Egypt to Flanders Fields to Afghanistan (UK Edition)

October 30, 2020
The Poppy: A Cultural History from Ancient Egypt to Flanders Fields to Afghanistan (UK Edition)

In the aftermath of the horrific trench warfare of the FirstWorld War, the poppy – sprouting across the killing fields ofFrance and Belgium, then immortalised in John McCrae's moving poem– became a worldwide icon. Yet the poppy has a longer history, asthe tell-tale sign of human cultivation of the land, of the ravagesof war and of the desire to escape the earthly realm throughinspired Romantic opium dreams or the grim reality of morphinedrips. This is a story spanning three thousand years, from theancient Egyptian fights over prized medicinal potions to theaddicted veterans returning home from the American Civil War, fromthe British political machinations during the Opium Wars with Chinato the struggle to end Afghanistan's tribal narcotics trade.Through it all, there stands the transformative poppy.Nicholas J. Saunders brings us the definitive history of thisever-enduring but humble flower of the fields, a story that is atturns tragic, eye-opening and, most essentially, life-affirming – agift to us all.