A Soviet Botanist's Exile from Eden
Gregory M. Levin, translated by Margaret Hopstein
A Man who fell in love with pomegranates and risked his life to protect their biodiversity tells his adventurous story in Pomegranate Roads. For more than 40 years, Dr. Gregory Levin lived and worked in a remote Soviet agricultural outpost in Turkmenistan. Ignoring both natural and political threats, the intrepid scientist trekked across Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus to collect 1,117 living varieties of the ruby fruit.
The breakup of the Soviet Union threatened his life's mission and exiled him to new challenges in Israel. His fascinating memoir illuminates the botany, the myths and the art, the astonishing range of tastes, and the health benefits—from ancient folk medicine to emerging pharmaceuticals—that make the pomegranate the wonder fruit of our time.
Levin's memoir reflects the tumultuous history of science in the Soviet Union, the shadow of Stalinist repression, the golden age of discovery after World War II, the collapse of the USSR and the abandonment of its scientists. He gathered his collection of pomegranates from 27 countries and four continents. The pomegranate, Levin believes, is an image of our world, representing its tempting beauty, its tenacity and fecundity, and its vulnerability to extinction.
"A beguiling blend of memoir and horticulture, this book will enchant both pomegranate devotees and novices."
&David Karp, "fruit detective"
216 pages including 8 page color insert, 6" x 9", full-color cover, 3 maps, 21 photographs including 7 in color, 6 illustrations including 5 in color. Published November 2006 by Floreant Press. ISBN 0-9649497-6-8 trade paper
From the Introduction by Publisher Barbara Baer:
"Gregory Levin's memoir with pomegranates is a survivor's tale, a botanical adventure that chronicles treks into regions far off most maps. Some chapters will especially interest botanists and pomegranate growers, while other readers will be led across mountainous Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus. The subtropical Garrigala station [100 miles from Iran] and the wild pomegranate gorges he explored were not only home but a wild paradise that Gregory Levin lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union."