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12 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Chemistry, New York, American History-- something for everyone
I was enthralled with this episode of American Experience. There is not a boring minute in it. The murder mysteries are each worthy of their own documentaries (there are innocent-faced female murderers and a Rasputin-like male victim of an insurance fraud, to name a few).The dramatizations and period pictures are fantastic. Even the sets and costumes and worthy of an...
Published 7 months ago by Amelia J. Brideson

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Innacurate run time
Warning to teachers and librarians who may want to use this film in class or for a program - the actual run time of this movie is not 60 minutes but 120 minutes. The Amazon page is inaccurate.

The movie is good, though.
Published 4 months ago by Seth


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Chemistry, New York, American History-- something for everyone, January 16, 2014
By 
This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I was enthralled with this episode of American Experience. There is not a boring minute in it. The murder mysteries are each worthy of their own documentaries (there are innocent-faced female murderers and a Rasputin-like male victim of an insurance fraud, to name a few).The dramatizations and period pictures are fantastic. Even the sets and costumes and worthy of an award for documentary-making. Two hours very well spent! It will make you appreciate the FDA. If you ever thought a show about chemistry would be a snooze-fest, think again. Students of American history and chemistry will be especially enthused, but please watch this with your family-- you may inspire a budding scientist or forensic detective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars how forensic science came to be ..., June 2, 2014
By 
Michael Dobey (colorado springs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
This is a incredible and true story of one doctors story , as he helps create forensic science in regard to poisoning. which is why that form of murder is so rare now. He does get it wrong sometimes though and he even helps a murderess get off twice , only to his horror realize that on the third time that she was guilty all along. There's many stories here and this would make a great movie! HE looked at over 100,000 cases in his long career which begins way back in the early 1900's. You will learn a lot here and it's a good thing men like this existed. The show is full of recreations with a good narrator to provide information as well. So it's a entertaining watch from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT THINK, June 16, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
Despite it's title, this is NOT a lesson on how to kill people. It does illustrate however, before forensic evidence became a precise science, poisoning was the most popular and successful way to commit murder. Thanks to Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler, it eventually became one of the least successful methods to get away with.

This program also shows how many incredibly toxic, deadly substances believed to be innocuous or actually beneficial, were as easy to obtain as a loaf of bread.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Chemistry Classes, May 21, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I am a high school chemistry teacher and showed this video when we had a little extra time at the end of the year. The students genuinely loved it (and I did too). The film combines dramatizations of gruesome murders by poisoning mixed in with chemistry to explain how forensic chemistry came to be.

After hearing, "This movie is awesome!" and "I would watch this again" from the students, this movie is going on my "to watch" list for years to come.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Use in Chemistry Classroom, April 23, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I purchased this for use in my high school chemistry classroom. I thought it was very interesting how forensic chemistry and criminal investigations kind of developed hand in hand. I was intrigued by the historical perspective and thought my students might find it equally interesting. We haven't used it yet, but I know that the few students I had talked to who saw this on PBS thought it was good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, March 30, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
Excellent history for those interested in forensics or forensic medicine. Or just the history of New York, for that matter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a Chemistry class., March 27, 2014
By 
Sarah (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I teach high school Chemistry and showed this at the end of the quarter where we'd heavily studied the periodic table. I showed it because I needed a day to grade, but I'm planning to incorporate it directly into my curriculum on purpose next year. They give just enough science to make it really awesome, and I am going to use it to talk about flame tests for heavy metals, periodicity (particularly Radium - it goes to the bones, just like calcium), and a few other topics as well.

When I turned this on in my 1st period, the kids were talking just like they do with any film. But slowly as the period wore on, the class got quiet as the film sucked the kids in. They were really upset that we didn't have time to finish it, and they've begged for the opportunity. That's saying something!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative, and riveting!, March 17, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I have to admit being an "American Experience" geek. I love finding out the history of our country and how certain things came to be in our modern day world. This documentary details the development of science for use in forensics and product development that affects our lives to this day.
I was fascinated by the use of poisons and other dangerous chemicals in everyday products, and that their distributors had no way of knowing (or caring) about the negative health effects these chemicals could have. I found the forensic science informative; it was presented in an easily understood manner.
I highly recommend it to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!!!, March 12, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
Wow! The things America used to do and get away with! It is kind of scary...and you know what, I am most definitely sure we are still being poisoned today with some of these man-made materials and until there is some kind of pattern they won't know it until years and too many people have died because of greed. I very much recommend this DVD, it is just fascinating (the study of people and industry)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best video ever, March 7, 2014
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This review is from: American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook (DVD)
I am planning to use this DVD as supplemental material to the college course I teach next spring. It is filled with old pictures and film footage of New York City in the early 1900's and was very enjoyable tying in the development of medicine, and forensic to history and society. I also recommend the book that this video was based on title The poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the birth of forensics in Jazz age NY. The book is easy reading and not boring.
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American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook
American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook by American Experience (DVD - 2014)
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