Poison: A History and a Family Memoir
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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
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Jessica
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
Deb
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
Marilyn
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.
Autumn
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.
Sarah
A good history/story book. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it.
Janette
Dec 29, 2008 Janette marked it as to-read
recommended by Terry Pratchett.
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