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King of Poisons: A History of Arsenic Hardcover – October 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597977039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597977036
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Parascandola has taken us on a fascinating and illuminating journey about the historical paradox of arsenic in life, health, and death.”—Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, former surgeon general of the United States
(Richard Carmona)

“There’s no poison with a longer, darker, more fascinating history than arsenic. And in his book King of Poisons, John Parascandola tells its story in compelling detail, from famous murders to chemical warfare. The result is an addictively readable look at one of the important—and definitely one of the most dangerous—elements on Earth.”—Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
(Deborah Blum)

“The author has done a wonderful job of presenting to the readers an easily readable and well-researched discussion of this elemental weapon of murder. Throughout history arsenic has not only been the number-one substance used in criminal poisoning, but is the first substance that comes to their minds of most people when they hear ‘murder by poison.’”—John H. Trestrail III, director, Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning
(John H. Trestrail III)

“From murder in fact and fiction to modern medicine—by way of taxidermy, food, wallpaper, drinking water, toxic wood, and much else besides—this wide-ranging, well-researched, and engagingly written book offers a fascinating overview of the social impact of arsenic, the perennially useful but always dangerous ‘king of poisons.’ There is something here for everyone —historians, scientists, and those who just want a good read. Highly recommended.”—Katherine Watson, author of Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and Their Victims and Forensic Medicine in Western Society: A History
(Katherine Watson)

"[King of Poisons] offers a comprehensive historical review of arsenic poisoning both intentional and accidental, one that is based on thorough research and given an engaging presentation."—James Whorton, Pharmacy in History
(James Whorton)

About the Author

John Parascandola received his PhD in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later served as the chief of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine and as the Public Health Service historian. The author of The Development of American Pharmacology (1992) and Sex, Sin, and Science: A History of Syphilis in America (2008), he is currently a historical consultant and teaches courses in the history of modern biology and of poisons at the University of Maryland. He lives in Rockville, Maryland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lynette jones on January 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Unsurprisingly this book covers the history of arsenic. Book overall was interesting and a quick read. There is a good source list at the end for further reading and author documents sources very well. The end is very abrupt and some transitions were odd. Enjoyed very much overall.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Lover of the Gilded Age on March 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a nice try but lost me afer a chapter or two. It seems silly now on my part to purchase a whole book on an elements that has been known for centuries to kill people, animals, and insects. If you want page after page of details on this know fact; buy it. If not, save your time and money.
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More About the Author

John Parascandola received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College. He then earned an M.S. degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. (1968) in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After spending a postdoctoral year at Harvard University, Dr. Parascandola returned to Madison to join the Wisconsin faculty in history of science and history of pharmacy. From 1974-1981 he also served as Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. In 1983, he entered on a career of over 20 years of Federal service, first as Chief of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, and then in 1992 as Public Health Service Historian, a position from which he retired in 2004. Since then, he has taught courses in the history of modern biology, the history of public health, and the history of poisons for the University of Maryland College Park and has worked as an historical consultant.
Dr. Parascandola's research interests have focused largely on the history of modern biomedical science, the history of pharmacology and drug therapy, and the history of public health in America. He is the author of The Development of American Pharmacology: John J. Abel and the Shaping of a Discipline (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), which received the Urdang Medal is 1994. He is also the author of Sex, Sin and Science: A History of Syphilis in America (Praeger Publishers, 2008), which received the George Pendleton Prize for 2008, and King of Poisons: A History of Arsenic (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2012). Dr. Parascandola has been active in several professional organizations, including serving as President of the American Association for the History of Medicine (2006-2008). His honors include: the Sidney M. Edelstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry (2002); the Surgeon General's Medallion, the highest honor awarded by the U. S. Surgeon General (2004); and a Citation of Merit from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005).

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