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Poison and Poisoning: A Compendium of Cases, Catastrophes and Crimes Paperback – 16 Nov 2009

28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press Ltd (16 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906373965
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906373962
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,033,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a compendium of all there is to know about poisoning including sections on:
- The Poison Basics: Sources, symptoms and Treatments
- The Poison Problems: at Work and in the Home
- The Ultimate Poison Legacy: Catastrophes, Accidents, Murder and Suicide
- The Poison Penalties: Uses, Abuses and Consequences

As with any compendium it's best dipped into rather than read from cover to cover. Especially in the case of this book where there is a great deal of information presented. Some of the content is very detailed and sometimes rather technical. The history of the various types of poisoning is covered and the author includes many vignettes of example of poisoning. The little vignettes or mini stories were my favourite bits - it put some of the drier facts and figures into a better context.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Parkes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At first I thought it would be a little morbid for reading material, but once started to read it, it was compelling to read the book.

The book covers virtually all known substances that can be poisonous, from the obvious cyanide and the like to plants, animals, dyes etc. The writer carefully blends the line between being a reference book and an educational book, making you want to continually read the next page. For each poison, there is a description on what it does and how it affects the human body, and sometimes gives stories of how it has been used. Throughout the book there are dark grey shaded areas that contain true stories of murders/accidents that have been the result of the aforementioned poisons. This is great because you can see how they were used or caused the affects of poisoning.

The only 2 downsides I have found is that the grey areas make it a little harder to read unless you have a well lit room. Also, some of the text is repeated later on, ie it talks about the poisons of rhubarb leaves early on, then again a few chapters later. This happens a few times.

Nevertheless, you can overlook these 2 small drawbacks because the book is such a compelling read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a book to dip into, a sort of Lonely Planet Guide to dangerous chemicals. If you're interested in, let's say ricin, you can find out about where it comes from (the castor oil plant), what notable individuals have been killed by it (notably, the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov), how it kills (it's a neurotoxin), what the symptoms are (flu-like symptoms, cramps, diahorrea, followed soon after by respirotory and circulatory collapse) and how ironically easy it is to denature (it's a protein, so can be destroyed by heating, which is why castor oil isn't poisonous).

Just like a Lonely Planet Guide, Poison has lots of sidebars, but these give details of famous cases of poisoning. Sadly, there are no maps or pictures.

The book tries to be jolly about its subject matter. The section headings are alliterative; the prose style is light. It's an easy enough read, but I probably wouldn't want to read it from cover to cover. Better to keep it to hand for when you fancy a little light murder, or if you want to check up on symptoms or find out if you might have been inadvertently poisoned in the nursery or at school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicolette Laurence VINE VOICE on 14 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am one of those people helplessly glued to the Crime channel and then having nightmares :) I find all that kind of stuff fascinating! This book is absolutely riveting - it is an excellent and extremely readable compendium of everything you can think of and more to do with poisons and poisoning. It is much more readable than an encyclopaedia although it is stuffed with as much information as one. Each section has factual information interspersed with real life examples and stories, and the style of prose is almost light-hearted. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Poison and poisoning: A compendium of cases, catastrophes and crimes attempts to blur the line between the serious textbook and a more fun book full of anecdotes and side information and hands us a book choc full of data on near enough every poison you could imagine, but also one that you will actually want to read through and not just look up the specific item you want then store away again.

It does this through trying to convey a slightly more conversational tone than pure bullet point facts, and intersperses the data with stories relating to the relevant poisons - crimes they were used in or historical stories relating to them.

I ordered this book hoping for a fairly interesting read and a route to broaden my knowledge somewhat, without getting bogged down in detail, but for me the book just didn't quite live up to what I had hoped - while perhaps not being as boring as a textbook, I did end up finding it somewhat dry and hard reading, with a lot of information to take in and not as much emphasis on the storytelling and anecdotes as I would have liked. A bias that will suit many I am sure, but for me it still came as still a bit too bogged down in pure data.

If you are looking for a lot of basic data on poisons, some examples and something not quite as dry as a pure textbook, this is probably a great choice. If you are looking for more of a compendium of poisoning stories and enough data to teach you about those, perhaps not.
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