Poison: A History and a Family Memoir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Poison: A History and a Family Memoir

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Years after Dr. William Macbeth died, his ornate medicine case passed to his estranged son. Over the protests of his family, the son buried it deep in the ground, out of sight and out of reach.

Then ten-years-old, Macbeth's granddaughter Gail Bell watched the mysterious case of elixirs arrive at her home. She watched her father treat it like a poison chalice. Only decades l...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 11th 2002 by St. Martin's Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Poison, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Poison

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 92)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Things I don't need:

1) A true crime book that turns into the history of poison.
2) A nonfiction book that uses over the top flowery language better suited for a Harelequinn Novel.
3) To know the dictionary's definition of executed. Any author still using this tranisition trick should be "executed" from the literary world unless they are in fifth grade and writing an essay on government.
4) Random vignettes of random people who have poisoned other random people in the past with random poisons.
5) An...more
Jan 23, 2008 Deb rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like light learning from their reading
Cocktail party tidbits of knowledge are scattered through here, interweaving with an indepth look at the poisonous family history of the author's own clan. Like many of the non-fiction books I read, I took my time savoring the knowledge intake (too long) and had to return it to the library before finishing.

Still, I met a boy because I knew the nitty gritty details of how Cleopatra killed herself. So there's that.

This will definitely rotate back someday and I'll finish the whole thing, but I've...more
Fascinating topic. (You may notice that I've read another book on poison.) A few interesting stories of historical poisoners. But lots and lots of the very sort of "flowery language" the author deparages. Probably not worth the effort. It seems as though the author wanted to write a really compelling story about a poisoning incident in the family. But she didn't have much material to go on, so she just wanders around the general topic. A frustrating read.
Fascinating tell (not tail) of a pharmacist's family history with poisons.You've heard of pyromaniac fireman...how about a serial killing apothecary?
Sharon Skinner
Interesting read. Nice threading of information through a personal journey into a dark family history.
A good history/story book. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it.
Dec 29, 2008 Janette marked it as to-read
recommended by Terry Pratchett.
Katie marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2014
Leah Halkett
Leah Halkett marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2014
Crickx marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2014
Ann marked it as to-read
May 19, 2014
Kristine Forbes
Kristine Forbes marked it as to-read
Apr 15, 2014
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Mar 22, 2014
Lisa marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2014
Timothy Elsasser
Timothy Elsasser marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2014
Amanda Wickham
Amanda Wickham marked it as to-read
Nov 12, 2013
Jyoti Poonia
Jyoti Poonia marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2013
Jacqui Dent
Jacqui Dent marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2013
Jane marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2012
Rosanne marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Poison Principle Shot: A Personal Response to Guns and Trauma The Worried Well: The Depression Epidemic and the Medicalisation of Our Sorrows The Poisoner: A Story of Family Secrets Poison: A History And a Family Memoir

Share This Book