If April showers bring May flowers, get a headstart with The Tulip: The Story of a Flower That Has Made Men Mad. Author Anna Pavord spent six years sifting through library books, paintings, illustrations, tulip gardens (cultivated, wild, and sometimes dangerous), and talking to scores of tulipomaniacs to develop a thorough account of the flower's very checkered past. Beginning with its Turkish roots (one sultan's reign was completely dominated by his passion for the tulip), Pavrod reveals incidents where entire businesses were traded for one single bulb; the tulip's migration from one continent to another; the great mystery behind breaking, where a plain tulip changes into a multi-colored bloom (once thought to be a grower-controlled process, it's actually caused by a virus). Rich endpapers contain Pavord's detailed text, and The Tulip is complete with color plates and hundreds of species' descriptions. Ideal for gardeners and social historians.