'A fascinating exploration of human greed and self-delusion and also a tribute to our ageless search for beauty.' - Deborah Moggach.
In 1630s' Holland thousands of people, from the wealthiest merchants to the lowest street traders, were caught up in a frenzy of buying and selling. The object of the speculation was not oil or gold, but the tulip, a delicate and exotic bloom that had just arrived from the east. Over three years, rare tulip bulbs changed hands for sums that would have bought a house in Amsterdam: a single bulb could sell for more than 300 000 at today's prices. Fortunes were made overnight, but then lost when, within a year, the market collapsed.
Mike Dash recreates this bizarre episode in European history, separating myth from reality. He traces the hysterical boom and devastating bust, bringing to life a colourful cast of characters and beautifully evoking Holland's Golden Age.
'A marvellous parable of greed, skulduggery, opulence, extravagance and retribution.' - Simon Singh.
'[Dash] has the storyteller's knack of making his readers feel present in the sweaty, smoke-filled taverns of Haarlem...a shining tribute to this extraordinary flower.' - TLS.