Author(s): Mike Dash
This is the story of the first great stock market boom in history. In 1630s Holland there was a frenzy over an exotic bloom newly imported from the East: the tulip. Mike Dash recreates the Holland of the 17th century and follows a couple of families who were deeply involved in the mania.
Reissued in brand new style to match Mike Dash's latest paperback, Batavia's Graveyard. The latter is to be made into a film by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Total Recall) Tulipomania has sales totally over 20,000 copies Powerful narrative non-fiction along the lines of the bestselling books Longitude, Cod, and Nathaniel's Nutmeg 'A marvellous parable of greed, skulduggery, opulence, extravagance and retribution' Simon Singh '[Dash] has the storyteller's knack of making his readers feel present in the sweaty, smoke-filled taverns of Haalem ... a shining tribute to this extraordinary flower'
Who would have thought that the humble tulip, so readily available these days in the garden centres and supermarkets, once almost caused war, battles royal between collectors and an orgy of buying and selling that was greater than that ever created on Wall Street by oil or gold. Individual bulbs were being sold for amounts 10 times the sum an ordinary family would live on for a year causing eyebrows to rise in neighbouring countries who watched with disbelief as this normally staid and reserved country descended into farce over a single flower. This was not about horticulture but money. Wealth, if you played your cards right, undreamt of, taking place in 17th century Holland in the years 1633-1637. Now referred back to as the great Dutch tulip mania, it almost mirrors the boom and bust years of the 1980s when everyone was scrambling to buy shares and better themselves before it all fizzled out at the end of the decade with multi bankruptcies and repossessions. Mike Dash takes the reader on a fascinating history of this humble plant, from its origins in the East where it caused a different kind of frenzy in religion being regarded as a "holy" flower to the madcap years of trading in the West. From the blooms seen in the acclaimed Dutch botanical paintings to the more recognisable, these small bulbs caused a stir in the financial world still quoted today in student texts. More a novel of intrigue and adventure than a horticultural tale, this is a must for anyone with a green streak and an ounce of recklessness in them. - Lucy Watson
Mike Dash read history at Cambridge and received his PhD from the University of London. Having worked for the Fortean Times and The Ministry of Sound, he is now setting up his own company.