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The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  19 reviews

Wisdom of a Turkmen proverb.

The Root of Wild Madder opens with an invitation that flows from the same ancient inspiration. "A carpet is poetry itself," an Iranian carpet merchant declares to author Brian Murphy. "You just have to learn to read them." So begins a journey. It follows Persian carpets from the remote villages of Afghanistan and Iran where they are woven --
ebook, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2005)
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My dirty ass roommate, in the process of her moving out, left this book behind. Personally, I'd like to think she left it for me as a parting gift, a token of thanks for all those dishes of hers I unquestioningly washed, but going on the plastic tubs brimming with cat-urine soaked clothing she left in the basement, the fact that she just didn't want to pack the thing rings with a more singing kind of truth. This book is one part cheeseball-white-guy-with-a-self-important-psuedo-spiritual-slash-m ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
Thoroughly enjoyable, a little bit of a travel book, a little bit of a treasure hunt, a little bit of a love affair.

This book is primarily about Persian carpets, which have fascinated me since, as a teenager, I found some old patterns and started producing cross stitch tapestry versions of carpets. The love affair in the book is between the author and the carpets as he goes chasing information about traditional methods of dying and weaving.

There is just enough information about the regions polit
I think this was recommended to me on the basis of me being able to use it to get someone ignorant on West Asian politics and history, and already holding stereotypes about the region and people, quickly up to speed on enough to not be totally ignorant bigots on the subject. He may have been thinking about how the half of this book that is in any way talking about history and culture is heavily diluted and generic: Murphy is trying to write a story about himself in which the history is the tapes ...more
'"If you mean do I think I am special in God's eyes, then no. That is not right," she cut me off, clearly becoming tired of my odd questions. "If you mean do I sometimes sense God while I'm working, then the answer is yes. There are times when I finish a difficult border or gul and must stop just to look at it. It is like a small world all alone and separate: perfect and peaceful. God must be guiding our hands, I think. This is how he gets us to look beyond this world. This is what I feel someti ...more
Written without ego. Written with humility and respect of an ancient tradition. I just finished reading another carpet-related book, in which the author had a relatively personal scope and did not go very far into the history, technique, designs and regional variations of carpet weaving... It was enjoyable for different reasons. I went in search of a book that would cover the carpet industry from dye to dealer and address some of the modern challenges it may face. I found The Root of Wild Madder ...more
Meandering stories aside, the interesting bits of this book include a basic history of Persian carpets--things which have long fascinated me--and a discussion of cultural, political and economic issues surrounding the make and trade in carpets. Unfortunately the author's musings get in the way of the book on more than one occasion, and he doesn't really learn that much about the interesting people he comes across, except how they can serve his needs to learn how to buy an authentic carpet withou ...more
J.T. O'Brien
Informative about the history and current day carpet industry. If you love Persian carpets and wonder what goes into the making and design, you will be delighted to read this book.
Sharon Bergman
As a spinner and weaver I enjoyed this book, but some of the language was beautiful, so it was also a good read.
Very interesting subject matter but author is, at times, a bit obnoxious. Could benefit by better editing.
Kathleen McRae
This was a very interesting has been on my want to read list for a long time.It was not what I expected and seemed part travelogue,part history of Persia with a sprinkle of modern day Iranian history and thirdly a personel journey by the author.My initial interest in reading the book was to discover more about the carpets and their history and he did provide some interesting information with many gaps still to be filled.
Not quite what I expected which was information on madder root, but a fascinating historical read on ancient Persia and the countries that, today, are part of that world - almost before time. Woven into the story and the main focus of the book is the story of carpets - the wool, the dyes, the weavers and the wheelers and dealers that bring those carpets to the work.
I get it, persian rugs have a mystical component to them. When you look at them you can see facets of life, or you can see art. Some are so well made that you can see new images and symbols in them even after looking at them for years. I did not need to read the same profundities over and over and over.

I wish I could recommend this book but I cannot.
Not exactly a page turner, but an incredibly interesting and informative book. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Persian carpets and the culture and history surrounding them.
Actually I only read part of this, this book turned out to be more about the author's self discovery (boring) than about the subject itself.
I would nOt have picked this up on my Own but I am glad I did. Easyto read and put down and pick up later.
Jan 05, 2009 Pamela is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far it is a light and breezy adventure travel memoir with rugs as a running (or is that runner) theme.
Interesting tale of carpets; weaving and history of Iraq and Afghanistan
Persian Carpets Feb 2007. Interesting. -- Interesting.
read again,love story
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