In Search of the Color That Seduced the WorldBook - 2011
A history of the rare pigment discusses its significance in everything from colonialism and slavery to fashion and religion, describing the mysterious scientific process through which it is obtained and the ways in which the author's own family was profoundly influenced by the indigo trade. 35,000 first printing.
For almost five millennia, in every culture and in every major religion, indigo-a blue pigment obtained from the small green leaf of a parasitic shrub through a complex process that even scientists still regard as mysterious-has been at the center of turbulent human encounters.
Indigo is the story of this precious dye and its ancient heritage: its relationship to slavery as the "hidden half" of the transatlantic slave trade, its profound influence on fashion, and its spiritual significance, which is little recognized but no less alive today. It is an untold story, brimming with rich, electrifying tales of those who shaped the course of colonial history and a world economy.
But Indigo is also the story of a personal quest: Catherine McKinley is the descendant of a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan as their virile armor; the kin of several generations of Jewish "rag traders"; the maternal granddaughter of a Massachusetts textile factory owner; and the paternal granddaughter of African slaves-her ancestors were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo, where a length of blue cotton could purchase human life. McKinley's journey in search of beauty and her own history ultimately leads her to a new and satisfying path, to finally "taste life." With its four-color photo insert and sumptuous design, Indigo will be as irresistible to look at as it is to read.
Symbolically associated with royalty, divinity and spirituality, indigo, a deep blue pigment which comes from the small green leaf of a parasitic shrub, has fascinating and until now untold stories steeped in history. Known as "The Devil's Dye" from its involvement in the bitter trade wars, as well as being a cornerstone in the slave trade, author McKinley's obsession and attraction to the color led her on a personal journey through nine countries of Africa to discover the power and effect indigo has had in shaping the course of history and world economics. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)