A Perfect Red


SKU: 9780060522766


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.

“Delightful, rollicking history . . . A fun read, well-supported by extensive research.” “Fascinating…Greenfield has given us a superbly researched history of cochineal red, full of angles and tangents, curiosities and arcana.” “With A PERFECT RED, she does for [red] what Mark Kurlansky in SALT did for that common commodity.” “A fascinating story of greed and subterfuge, mixing fashion, folly and ingenuity in equal measure… Written with style and verve.” “A marvelous book… Meticulously researched, this saga will enchant lovers of historical mysteries, fascinating characters, and world economics.” “A gem of accessible history.” “[An] intricate history…Greenfield paints a broad historical panorama, never neglecting the intimate, eccentric, and often absurd human details.” “Greenfield does what the best historical authors do–follows the thread of a story through history without missing a stitch.”

Additional information

Weight 10 oz
Dimensions 1 × 5 × 8 in