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Critical Praise

"Zestful . . . A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great. Here are visionary passions and fierce obsessions; heroic feats accomplished in exotic settings; outsize characters, entrepreneurs at the edge of the frontier, adventurers. . . . Orlean, an intrepid sociologist among the orchid fanatics, is also a poetic observer. "

———The Wall Street Journal

"Irresistible . . . A brilliantly reported account of an illicit scheme to housebreak Florida's wild and endangered ghost orchid. Its central figure is John Laroche, the 'oddball ultimate' of a subculture whose members are so enthralled by orchids they 'pursue them like lovers.' "

———Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Fascinating...tales of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and engrossing journey. "

———Los Angeles Times

"Artful . . . In Ms. Orlean's skillful handling, her orchid story turns out to be distinctly 'something more.' . . . Orchids, Seminole history, the ecology of the Fakahatchee Strand, the fascination of Florida to con men. . . . All that she writes here fits together because it is grounded in her personal experience. . . . [Her] portrait of her sometimes sad-making orchid thief allows the reader to discover acres of opportunity where intriguing things can be found. "

———Christopher Lehmann—Haupt, The New York

Times "Deliciously weird...compelling. "

———Detroit Free Press

"Like the orchid, a small thing of grandeur, a passion with a pedigree . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean's] gifts in full bloom. "

———The New York Times Book Review

"A lesson in the dark, dangerous, sometimes hilarious nature of sometimes don't want to read on, but find you can't help it. "

———USA Today