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Poison: An Illustrated History Paperback – April 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From Greek philosophers to Russian spies, poisons have a long and colorful history. Easy to obtain and administer, they are often hard to detect or trace. They kill, but they also smooth wrinkles, calm nerves, provide visions, and cure illnesses. The history of poison is also the history of medicine, and
it plays a vital role in the histories of science, industry, and agriculture. From arsenic
and belladonna to thallium and Zyklon B, Poison explores the nature of toxicity and reveals how poisons intersect with our everyday lives.
 
In a compelling blend of fascinating and informative text complemented by evocative illustrations and engaging sidebars, Joel Levy uncovers history’s most notorious poisoners and their victims—from Cesare Borgia and Isaac Newton to Erwin Rommel and Saddam Hussein. His enlightening case studies provide easily digestible profiles of specific substances, whether the elusive potion behind the death of Socrates or cocaine. Learn the differences among poisons, toxins, and venoms; the five stages of poisoning;
how many bee stings it takes to kill someone; and what you should really do if a poisonous snake bites you.
Take a good dose of Poison for an experience you will never forget.

From the Back Cover

Discover the secret history of poison and how it shapes our world.
 
From Cleopatra to Mary Ann Cotton, from cone snails to cocaine, this lavishly illustrated book will take you on a fascinating journey through the mysterious world of potions, magical herbs, and psychoactive preparations—substances at once alluring and terrifying. Poison captures them in all their complexity, describing the many roles they have played in history and culture, science and religion, medicine and murder.
 
POISONOUS FACTS

Ergot mold, which grows on rye and other grains, causes convulsions and hallucinations. Cited in the witchcraft panic of 1691 in Salem, Massachusetts, it is a precursor in the synthesis of LSD.
 
Jane Stanford, cofounder of Stanford University, died of strychnine poisoning.
 
The gas chamber was first used in Nevada in the 1924 execution of Gee Jon, a Chinese-American gangster. Lethal injection is now the world’s most popular form of execution.
 
Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is also a highly potent alkaloid neurotoxin that was used widely as an insecticide.
 
The botulinum toxin is the most potent known to science. A little more than one cup would be enough to kill every human on the planet.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762770562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762770564
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Loved the book. It's a fine study of the different histories of the use of poisons.
It covers ancient times to the present, explaining in detail who, how and why many poisons were used. Quite enjoyable. Thank you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fun and informative read. Written and edited well and entertaining too.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Medlock on February 11, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For my purposes, this book was disappointingly scattered. No area of poison was dealt with comprehensively. The poison I was researching, aconite, was barely mentioned.
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