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Download The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Unabridged), by Susan Orlean
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,668 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Orlean Narrator: Jennifer Meyers Publisher: Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2001 ISBN:
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The orchid thief in Susan Orlean's mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had planned to clone the orchids and then sell them for a small fortune to impassioned collectors. After he was caught in the act, Laroche set off one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native American activists, and devoted orchid collectors. The result is a tale that is strange, compelling, and hilarious.

New Yorker writer Susan Orlean followed Laroche through swamps and into the eccentric world of Florida's orchid collectors, a subculture of aristocrats, fanatics, and smugglers whose obsession with plants is all-consuming. Along the way, Orlean learned the history of orchid collecting, discovered an odd pattern of plant crimes in Florida, and spent time with Laroche's partners, a tribe of Seminole Indians who are still at war with the United States.

There is something fascinating or funny or truly bizarre on every page of The Orchid Thief: the story of how the head of a famous Seminole chief came to be displayed in the front window of a local pharmacy; or how 700 iguanas were smuggled into Florida; or the case of the only known extraterrestrial plant crime. Ultimately, however, Susan Orlean's book is about passion itself, and the amazing lengths to which people will go to gratify it. That passion is captured with singular vision in The Orchid Thief, a once-in-a-lifetime story by a truly original journalist. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fpat Murray | 2/18/2014

    " LaRoache is a fun character eh? Not nearly enough of him to fill an hour and a half though eh? This book was stolen from me twice, both times i got up to roughly page 87 and the book went missing. About 3 years later I managed to hold onto it long enough to finish. It was worth the collective $15 or so i spent on used copies. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/6/2014

    " I abandoned the book 1/3 of the way through. I was intrigued by the main character but could not, no matter how hard I tried, get interested enough in the orchid lessons to hang in there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adrienne | 2/5/2014

    " A really brilliant book. A wonderful weaving of ethnography, history, botany, and crazy-assed stories that made me feel as though I myself were waist-deep in muddy, alligator-infested swamp, searching for the ineffable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steph Cooper | 1/30/2014

    " I do not care nearly enough about orchids for this book to have been entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 1/29/2014

    " Interest true-life characters. I also learned a few things about orchids and Florida. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 1/27/2014

    " I couldn't seem to get into this book, and then it was going to be overdue, so I didn't read much of it. This is a shame, too, because I felt like everyone was depending on me to read this! I skipped this months bookclub because I didn't read it, and Alyson was interested in my response too. Ah, I'm such a disappointment ;( "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie | 1/16/2014

    " Great material, crumbled in the hands of this writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brigid | 1/14/2014

    " Turns out I didn't really want to read this after all. It is well-written and full of interesting tidbits about the crazy world of orchids. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy Barta | 1/13/2014

    " I like collecting and plants, but this wasn't really a page turner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 12/9/2013

    " As an orchid lover, this was a spectacular read. An intriguing story interwoven with gorgeous and vivid descriptions. Learned loads about Floridian flora and fauna. Also provided a fascinating history of orchidology and the lunacy of orchid fanatics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D.L. | 11/20/2013

    " I went straight out and bought an orchid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garden Girl | 11/3/2013

    " Enjoyed this very much. Adventure and horticultural information all in one book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty Sutton | 10/9/2013

    " Strange, great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 9/14/2013

    " DAMN THAT WAS A LOT OF PLANTS "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 7/22/2013

    " it really pulls you into seeing plant collectors in a different kind of light; i normally tend to stay away from nonfiction novels, but this was a good one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kelley | 2/23/2013

    " The first few chapters were interesting, but then she went off on a tangent (important to the explanation of plants and things) and lost me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 2/10/2013

    " Very entertaining and I learned a lot about the history and mystique of the orchid "subculture." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kari | 1/9/2013

    " Very interesting nonfiction. I'm going to rewatch Adaptation, which was inspired? by the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joey | 10/19/2012

    " My favourite book ever! The movie based on this book is pretty cool too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anita Nielson | 1/16/2012

    " This is taking too long to read... ugh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leonora | 10/26/2011

    " Interesting but I didn't love it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rafael | 8/24/2011

    " Read this to better understand the Charlie Kaufman scriot for Adaptation, and what he had to work with for that script. Interesting anecdotes, but yeah, a whole lot of New York hoo ha. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 5/18/2011

    " I honestly did not think that a book about orchids would be this intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 5/18/2011

    " I was very surprised by how much I learned from this book without my realizing it. Who knew that the orchid world was so dramatic? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 4/17/2011

    " Nobody does Florida quite like Susan Orlean. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 4/13/2011

    " As to be expected, this book taught me a lot about orchids. I went out and purchased an orchid after finishing it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William | 4/6/2011

    " Although some of her long-winded paragraphs drove me mad, this was a generally interesting piece of non-fiction.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 3/31/2011

    " One of my favourite books, although it is a little light on story. A fascinating read full of flow. I do, however, love orchids, so I may be biased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 3/4/2011

    " This is a fascinating story about one of the many fringe hobbyists and eccentrics one rarely hears about or crosses paths with in communities across the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 2/26/2011

    " I picked this book for my book club to read, and still get ribbed about it to this day. I rather enjoyed it. The book was certainly far superior to its movie, Adaptation, even though the movie did win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Chris Cooper, who deserved it for so many other roles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 M | 2/19/2011

    " While I continued to turn the pages and found this book pretty engrossing, I didn't love it. I really didn't like any of the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsey | 2/13/2011

    " Excellent writing and a fascinating story. Some of my favorite books are those about little-known things such as salt, cod, orchids--that reach out and affect or participate in history in ways you wouldn't expect. "

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