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Om författaren

Deborah Blum won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for her writing and reporting about primate experiments and ethics, a subject that she further explored in her first book, The Monkey Wars. Her second book, Sex on the Brain, was a New York Times Notable Book for 1997. Blum is a professor of journalism at visa mer the University of Wisconsin, and president-elect of the National Association of Science Writers. She lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin visa färre

Verk av Deborah Blum

Associerade verk

The Best American Science Writing 2011 (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 82 exemplar


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Warning depictions of animal cruelty

I had difficulty staying interested in this book,it was quite taxing to finish unfortunately. The most frustrating aspect of was the endless amounts of historical vignettes found throughout each chapter. Sometimes it was effective, sometimes creating a quasi emotional connection with the victims. On the other end it was often clunky and unnecessary. Did I really need a recap of the great depression in order to understand the chemical composition of Thalium? No. Or the decor of the medical examiner's office? No. I did however enjoy the more technical passages describing the actual chemistry behind the various poisons and how they were discovered. The lives of Norris and Gettler were also fascinating. Overall I wish the focus was more on chemistry and forensic science,everything else could have been left out.… (mer)
OnniAdda | 124 andra recensioner | Nov 22, 2023 |
4.75 stars

A truly fascinating look at the history of poisons in America. I learned a lot, which I appreciate in a book, and the writing is not dry like a textbook. One of my favorite reads so far this year!

Note: There is a bit of profanity, and the descriptions of how poisons affect the human body may be too grisly for some readers.
RachelRachelRachel | 124 andra recensioner | Nov 21, 2023 |
Man, while there are still many issues with the modern US food industry, I am SO beyond grateful that I wasn't born anywhere prior to the FDA becoming a thing because the descriptions of things from in "food" was horrifying
Moshepit20 | 16 andra recensioner | Sep 20, 2023 |
I really enjoyed Deborah Blum's [b:The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York|7054123|The Poisoner's Handbook Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York|Deborah Blum||7305202] about poison in the Jazz Age, and this prequel, so-to-speak, of the turn of the century push for food purity was fascinating. Many popular non-fiction books read like an afterthought of stitched together essays masquerading as a book, but Blum's journalism background really shines. The narrative flows nicely from one section to the next, painting a complete picture of an America held captive to corporate interests and party politics on one side and activists, suffragettes, socialists and scientists on the other. This may feel a little on the nose for modern politics, but Blum never lets a parallel slip out, instead sticking strictly to history. She does so largely by focusing on the story of Dr. Wiley, the titular "one chemist," who forms the also titular, "poison squad" -- a randomized controlled trial to determine the effects of preservatives on food.

Perhaps my biggest complaints about the books are the flip side of its virtues. With a singular narrative focus, Blum loses the opportunities to draw parallels and also address how the FDA and food regulation has evolved since FDR. Wiley's campaign against preservatives like saccharin and benzoate is addressed with complete credulity analogously to his campaigns against formaldehyde and copper salts in food. Blum never even mentions that both are FDA-approved now (a tangent: as a professional biochemical geneticist, I use benzoate all the time as a nitrogen scavenger because it binds to the amino acid glycine to form hippuric acid, which is easily excreted in the urine. When I first started interpreting urine organic acid analyses, I turned to my mentor confused -- why do so many samples have hippurate in them? I assumed that some hippuric acid might be naturally occurring. Instead, my mentor handed me a diet soda bottle, clearly labeled "contained potassium benzoate to preserve flavor."). She also didn't address the modern "pure food" movement or how that may be different with a more robust FDA who does approve the chemical additives...
… (mer)
settingshadow | 16 andra recensioner | Aug 19, 2023 |



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