A wide-ranging and provocative look - teeming with little-known facts and engaging stories - at a subject of the direst interest.
Poisons permeate our world. They are in the environment, the workplace, the home. They are in food, our favorite whiskey, medicine, well water. They have been used to cure disease as well as incapacitate and kill. They smooth wrinkles, block pain, stimulate, and enhance athletic ability. In this entertaining and fact-filled audiobook, science writer Peter Macinnis considers poisons in all their aspects. He recounts stories of the celebrated poisoners in history and literature, from Nero to Thomas Wainewright, and from the death of Socrates to Hamlet and Peter Pan. He discusses the sources of various poisons - from cyanide to strychnine, from Botox to ricin and Sarin gas - as well as their detection.
Then he analyzes the science of their action in the body and their uses in medicine, cosmetics, war, and terrorism. With wit and precision, he weighs such questions as: Was Lincoln’s volatility caused by mercury poisoning? Was Jack the Ripper an arsenic eater? Can wallpaper kill? For anyone who has ever wondered and been afraid to ask, here is a rich miscellany for your secret questions about toxins.
Who knew that poisons were so pervasive throughout history? As author Peter Macinnis points out, human beings were born of poison, and according to this audiobook, quite a few of them have died of its effects as well.
Narrator Stephen Hoye places the listener in Roman and medieval landscapes where poison was the most efficient way to dispatch one’s political enemies. This actor turned audiobook performer has a resounding, at times wry, delivery that won him a 2011 Best Voice in Biography and History award.
Part world history and part natural history, Poisons provides ample romance and intrigue while also fleshing out the popular science behind impactful poisons from arsenic to THC.
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Interestin compendium on poisons and their history
This was a great book! I did get kind of bored when it got into history of people poisoning each other, but when it got back to poisoning and poisons in general, it was very enlightening. I particularly liked the concept that the black plague may, in fact, not have been the bubonic plague, but it may in fact have been due to a poison from rye plants! Always intriguing to learn about more to research!
- Marsha L. Woerner