A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire

Paperback | April 25, 2006

byAmy Butler Greenfield

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In the sixteenth century, one of the world's most precious commodities was cochineal, a legendary red dye treasured by the ancient Mexicans and sold in the great Aztec marketplaces, where it attracted the attention of the Spanish conquistadors. 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. As the English, French, Dutch, and other Europeans joined the chase for cochineal -- a chase that lasted for more than three centuries -- a tale of pirates, explorers, alchemists, scientists, and spies unfolds. A Perfect Red evokes with style and verve this history of a grand obsession, of intrigue, empire, and adventure in pursuit of the most desirable color on earth.

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In the sixteenth century, one of the world's most precious commodities was cochineal, a legendary red dye treasured by the ancient Mexicans and sold in the great Aztec marketplaces, where it attracted the attention of the Spanish conquistadors. Shipped to Europe, the dye created a sensation, producing the brightest, strongest red the w...

Amy Butler Greenfield's grandfather and great-grandfather were dyers, and she has long been fascinated by the history of color. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in the Adirondacks and graduated from Williams College. As a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, she studied imperial Spain and Renaissance Europe. She now lives with her husband near...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.79 inPublished:April 25, 2006Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060522763

ISBN - 13:9780060522766

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“Greenfield does what the best historical authors do--follows the thread of a story through history without missing a stitch.”