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A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud (1999)

von Karl Sabbagh

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1513143,771 (3.73)16
A Rum Affair is an absorbing tale of scientific chicanery and academic intrigue--critically acclaimed and a finalist for the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize. In the 1940s, the eminent British botanist John Heslop Harrison proposed a controversial theory: Species of plants on the islands off the west coast of Scotland, he said, had survived the last Ice Age. His premise flew in the face of evidence that the last advance of the ice sheets extended well south of mainland Scotland, but he said he had proof--the plants and grasses found on the Isle of Rum--that would make his name in the scientific world. Harrison didn't anticipate, however, the tenacious John Raven, an amateur botanist who boldly questioned whether these grasses were truly indigenous to the area, or whether they had been transported there and planted. What seems at first a minor infringement of academic honesty soon becomes an enthralling tale of rival scientists and fraudulent science, a skillful whodunit that, in the hands of the talented Sabbagh, joins the ranks of the best narrative nonfiction.… (mehr)
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LA Times Book Prize Finalist
good reviews. I found it interesting about scientists lying about their work but it was too long ( )
  mahallett | Apr 2, 2019 |
A gripping tale of botanical fraud, and one which prompted me to make a three-day trip to the island described, which was one of the most fascinating experiences I've had in my life. Sabbagh does a remarkable job outlining this complicated story. ( )
  JBD1 | Apr 5, 2018 |
Sabbagh tries as hard as he can to make 1940’s British botany lurid and exciting. While those looking for more intrigue in their plant plagiarism may go elsewhere, Sabbagh very competently lays out the whole sordid saga. J.W. Heslop Harrison goes to the Isle of Rum, allegedly plants and then “discovers” new grasses on the island; John Raven is sent on a mission to prove him fraudulent. With all the principal characters dead, the author goes sedge sleuthing and tries to remain neutral. A very quick, readable tale.

http://lifelongdewey.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/580-a-rum-affair-by-karl-sabbagh/ ( )
1 abstimmen NielsenGW | Jan 5, 2009 |
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A Rum Affair is an absorbing tale of scientific chicanery and academic intrigue--critically acclaimed and a finalist for the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize. In the 1940s, the eminent British botanist John Heslop Harrison proposed a controversial theory: Species of plants on the islands off the west coast of Scotland, he said, had survived the last Ice Age. His premise flew in the face of evidence that the last advance of the ice sheets extended well south of mainland Scotland, but he said he had proof--the plants and grasses found on the Isle of Rum--that would make his name in the scientific world. Harrison didn't anticipate, however, the tenacious John Raven, an amateur botanist who boldly questioned whether these grasses were truly indigenous to the area, or whether they had been transported there and planted. What seems at first a minor infringement of academic honesty soon becomes an enthralling tale of rival scientists and fraudulent science, a skillful whodunit that, in the hands of the talented Sabbagh, joins the ranks of the best narrative nonfiction.

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Durchschnitt: (3.73)
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2 1
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3 5
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