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Poison and Poisoning: A Compendium of Cases, Catastrophes and Crimes Paperback – 16 Nov 2009
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Top customer reviews
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.
- 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.
It covers widespread issues such as the thalidomide disaster in the 50's and 60's, to the use of laudanum and other widely used preparations and how things can so easily go wrong.
Some stories in this book are morbidly fascinating; from serial adulterers who have used items that would have been readily available to them to get rid of problematic lovers to people who marry for money, then use something to kill their partners for inheritance; and even stories about people who had murdered their own family - brothers, sisters and even children - motivated either by greed, despair or even just to see what the effect of poison would be on their loved ones!
I loved every page of this book, even if it did make me very uneasy sometimes (some of the stories are disturbing!), and the only reason it didn't get the full five stars is that there are some seriously bad typos in the first 35 or so pages of the book which make it confusing to understand at times and should really have been picked up.
I'd easily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this subject, studying biology/chemistry or simply enjoys a bit of pop-science!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Well written in a trashy kind of a way with lots of information which Im sure is of use to someone, but comes across...Read more
An unusual book, full of information about the effects of each poison, & how they have been misused...Read more
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