Das Buch hat mir wirklich gut gefallen. Der Autor erzählt auf humorvolle Art interessante Anekdoten aus der Orchideenszene und kritisiert fehlgeleitete Artenschutzbestimmungen. Ich habe die englischsprachige Fassung gelesen, die Sprache war leicht verständlich.
This is one of the most opinionated books I have ever read: it is zealous in its simple examples of right and wrong. Orchids and the people who love them are Good. The offical agencies that are supposed to regulate the orchid trade and conserve them are very, very Bad. It is also clear that the people who love orchids are not only good, they are also fetishists about the things, and all evidence to the contrary (evidence from the Nazi-like bureaucrats who invade greenhouses armed with attack dogs and semi-automatic weapons) everything they do in is in the best interests of the orchids. I could not figure out if there were too few orchids in the world or too many or which of what kind. Either they need rescuing from looming civilization, or there are so many of them it is stupid to regulate their trade at all. Every one who rescues them from the wild is doing a good thing, although they do not seem need to be saved as much as left alone. It is clear, however, that Hansen dotes on his eccentric cast of characters, complete with their sexually tinged, highly volatile love of these flowers, peculiar personal quirks, emotional disorders and nasty in-fighting. I, too, have been overwhelmed by the lush beauty of orchids at flower shows or botanical gardens, and am always sad to see the ones sent as gifts wither under my care. Still, I am happy to say that I have never lusted after them in the way Hansen's friends do -- making a religion of a plant just isn't in me. One thing: Hansen's opening sentence is just about the best one since "It was the worst of times, it was the best of time..." Apparently that goes for orchids too.
Too contrived to be true? The plot of Orchid Fever, a tale of the mania that surrounds CITES (Congress on Trade in Endangered Species) and endangered orchids, smacks of a TV tabloid expose studded with international intrigue, wily authorities, blameless miscreants, crafty smugglers, anonymous informers, and the occasional white knight. It all sounds barely credible. But orchid people will understand author Eric Hansen's fascination with this compelling tale of good intentions gone terribly awry. Hansen skillfully weaves anecdotal threads to support his assertion that CITES - as it applies to flora listed in Part II of its appendix - has been manipulated from its inception by some of the orchid establishment (read Kew Gardens in London, England) to perpetuate that establishment's own control and authority. Hansen shows how this jealous manipulation has produced a tragic oxymoron by further endangering the rare flora, in this case slipper orchids, that it proposes to save by thwarting legal propagation and salvage. Hansen finds real orchid people are way eccentric enough to populate his story. Some are familiar to orchid hobbyists as occasional club speakers while others are less well known. It doesn't matter. All are interesting as the tale spins from steaming Borneo jungles to the cold latitudes of Denmark, while Hansen attempts to ferret out the facts about reported orchid rustlers. Can these awful stories about needless destruction of Paphiopedilum sanderianums and other rare slippers be true? Unfortunately so. The line between who are the good guys and who are not blurs as Hansen describes rivalries that are all about power and influence and not about saving orchids. It's a maddening, frustrating, agonizing read as heavy-handed plant police stomp through greenhouses accomplishing only destruction. When asked tough questions, the horticultural authorities who are supposed to be wearing white hats are suspiciously uncommunicative. Just as the reader concludes that the situation is indeed hopeless, Hansen closes with a parable of salvation. Illustrating just what one man with a good idea and a lot of tenacity can do, the author introduces us to a Johnny Orchidseed of sorts, whose solo efforts have rescued untold thousands of endangered plants. Maybe there's room for hope, after all. Orchid Fever delivers its "tale of love, lust, and lunacy" in a big way. Anyone who's been around orchids for more than 20 minutes will understand the issues, recognize his or her friends (and self) and appreciate how deliciously Hansen describes the world of orchid mania. Pity that it took a horticultural holocaust to do it.
Eric Hansen's book is a complete revelation of how ill-informed authorities would go to any length to persecute and prosecute often innocent people whose only fault it is to love and cherish orchids. Hansen authoratatively demonstrates how paper pushing, so-called botanists, often misguided, with little or no first hand experience, other than what is given to them through the grapevine put their feet into their own mouth. In many ways their collective acts together with ill-informed administrators in IUCN, and CITES, that proclaim to act in the interest of conservation, can only be termed as a form of Orchid-Apertheid. A sad state of affairs for all scientists round the globe, who are caught in the brutal, sophisticated and shortsighted machination of a group of self proclaimed authorites in charge, whose own records in the past is often deplorable. Individuals such as Cribb, Eric Hagstar, Vogel, van Vliet, are grim reminders of the dark age self-proclaimed do-goodies, that in the in their own interst sent many innocent victims to their death. As an individual who has travelled to the remote corners of the world several times, and with no active interst in orchids, I endorse Hansen's comments on the shallow understanding, and narrow-minded group of officials and botanists who unfortunately seem to have the upper-hand. I congradulate Hansen for his frank revelations of the blot clouding the orchid world. A sad story, about which the perpetrators should try to learn from, and be ashamed of their own acts in the past, and even present.
ORCHID FEVER is wonderfully successful as a multi-layered exploration of passion, bureaucracy, human nature and the fine line between love and obsession. AND it is a remarkably vivid introduction to these elegant and esoteric plants, due in large part to the author's eloquent descriptions as he becomes more deeply captivated by the color, form, fragrance and habits of these botanical beauties. I believe one of the most important and enduring points made is that our effort to protect and conserve plant and animal life cannot be managed well by a small group of "experts" with a personal agenda and limitless power. Hansen reminds us that we cannot be complacent about any existing rules for protection and conservation and he inspires the reader to ask questions, dig deeper and seek the truth about conservation and protection laws that "safeguard" our wild resources throughout the world. A very well-developed sense of the absurd and a fine wit allow this author to carry any reader deep into the stories told, regardless of one's familiarity with the subject of orchids. And he graciously exposes himself as a slightly off-beat character who, we gradually learn, has a passion for collecting eccentrics and characters as unique as the plants they prize.
Unlike the petty bickering, rumors and lies of South Florida that were portrayed in Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief", Eric Hansen's "Orchid Fever" takes us on an even more important journey, through jungle adventures in Borneo, ice cream made from orchid roots in Turkey.Fragrances derived from Cymbedium faberi in Japan and scientists in Europe, finishing off with a professional orchid salvager in Minmesota. In all this world travel, the most important information is how the portentous laws of the CITES (convention on international trade endangered species) are just not working. Quoting Dr. Gunnar Seidenfaden in Chapter 14, CITES had developed into a bureaucratic police force dominated by lawyers who knew nothing about plants and who were obsessed with 'legalistic refinement and jurdical sophistry'. The laws have allowed world wide 'plant raids' by heavily armed officers as if they were performing a drug raid. ... Well researched with personal interviews, "Orchid Fever" could turn orchid hobbyists onto activists. Bil Nelson President, Wisconsin Orchid Society
Mr. Hansen has done a fantastic job combining his experiences, research, observation, and writing to provide us with a revealing look at "the orchid world". I found this expose both entertaining, and also a bit disturbing because it made me realize that although I have only been growing orchids for 2 1/2 years, by virtue of owning and caring for approximately 200 plants and joining a local orchid society and the American Orchid Society, I have become part of the "orchid world" described in the book even though I had not planned things that way! (A fellow orchid society member/neighbor of mine and local paphiopedilum specialist has helped me become interested and active in his hybridization program. This neighbor/specialist knows many of the people Mr. Hanson writes about in Orchid Fever!) This book is a fast read because Hansen's style includes frequent utilization of humor. The vivid descriptions of the personalities Mr. Hanson encountered and the places he visited while preparing to write this book are captivating and entertaining.
I picked this book up at the library in a hurry thinking that I had found the orchid book that had been in the news (I learned later that was Susan Orlean's book, not this one). Lucky mistake. I found Eric Hansen's book outrageously funny and very well written. The orchid world he describes is something I never could have imagined!
I have read Eric Hansen's Traveling with Mohammed and Stranger in the Forest with much satisfaction. I enjoy travel and adventure books and both of these fit my interests. My knowledge about orchids is very limited and I doubt I would have read Orchid Fever until I heard of a new book by Mr. Hansen. "Orchids" I said, by Hansen? Well I bought it and now I am trying not to buy one of these orchid creatures. The orchid world described by Hansen encompasses all the world has to offer; life, beauty, culture, pleasure, excitement, and the mis-use of power and guidance of those entrusted with political and regulation ability. It is strange how organizations such as CITES are created to preserve, protect, and educate and the results appear to be less than desirable. Another book to be read and enjoyed by Mr. Hansen. I would recommend it to anyone, not just orchid lovers.
"In my 40 years as an orchid scientist, author and book editor, I have never read anything quite like ORCHID FEVER. It is part absurdist black humor and part horticultural expose. Mr. Hansen displays a rare talent for capturing the allure of orchids, describing the dubious characters who lurk in the shadows, and exposing the small handful of self-appointed power brokers who rule the orchid world. Frightening, funny and full of tantalizing insider knowledge. And yes...there are strange and wonderful stories about orchids as well. I have a distinct feeling that what was left unsaid about several people is much more interesting than what was written. I look forward to a no holds barred second edition." Dr. Joseph Arditti Editor, Orchid Biology Irvine