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Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  35 reviews
For centuries, people have been poisoning one another--changing personal lives and the course of empires alike.
From spurned spouses and rivals, to condemned prisoners like Socrates, to endangered emperors like Alexander the Great, to modern-day leaders like Joseph Stalin and Yasser Arafat, poison has played a starring role in the demise of countless individuals. And thos
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  123 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Laurie Thompson
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deliciously dark fun! Sarah Albee's POISON is the perfect mix of science, history, mystery, and entertainment, and readers of many different genres will be thoroughly engaged by this book. I know I was! From ancient times to today (and beyond!), Albee shows us how poisons--both natural and man-made--have affected humans lives and culture. The facts are shocking and fascinating, but broken down in a way that makes them accessible. There's also a ton of humor to balance the heavy subject matter, w ...more
Snazzy Reads
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun to read!
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a page-turner! I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of POISON, and I couldn't put it down. I imagine that young readers will have the same experience--even if they grab this title just hoping to look up a quick fact about a historical poisoning, they'll find themselves sucked in quickly by the numerous compelling true stories and fascinating scientific facts about how poisons work.

This would be a wonderful book to read aloud as a family, too. I read parts aloud to my husband, a
Better for browsing than reading cover to cover, but if you want to know anything about poison, this is the book for you. OK - the author won't tell you HOW to poison someone or anything like that, but other than that, everything you want to know is here. The entire book is in black, white, and noxious green, appropriate for content matter. There are lots of lots of photographs and charts as well as informational text boxes. Text will often refer you to information on other pages - which is why ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poisons have been around as long as the earth has been. Unfortunately, human knowledge and use of such poisons has steadily grown in both good ways and bad ways. In this fascinating look at some of the best known poisons, the ways they have been used (for better or worse), and historical figures who may or may not have been poisoned, Albee has created a compelling account. Starting with a brief introduction to poisons, what they are and where they come from, Albee moves on to discussing their us ...more
Edward Sullivan
Reviewed for professional publication.
Lucy M.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a pretty good book.
Poison might seem to be an odd topic for a book for young readers, but this one is so well-written, well-researched, and highly entertaining that teens and adults will be riveted by its pages. Not only does the author provide an interesting history of poison, keeping in mind that certain substances may help or harm, depending on how they are used and in what amount, but she does so with plenty of flair. The book's design is fetching too with a Tox Box that gives details about each poison, and a ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From ancient times to current day people have been poisoned, both accidentally and intentionally. Some of these poisons occur naturally, other are mixtures, and now there are even manufactured and synthetic poisons. Albee chronicles the use and discovery of poisons through the ages, the famous poisoners, the infamous products containing hazardous materials, and the people who invented new uses as well as discovered ways to detect poisons. From Socrates to Cleopatra, the Medici family to Jonestow ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating history of poisons and poisoning written with a darkly hilarious tone that couldn't be better for the middle-school reader! Albee manages to work in a LOT of history here while following the trail of what human kind has done to each other and to themselves, both purposefully and inadvertantly. Poisons like arsenic and hemlock from the ancient worlds are discussed but also work place toxins, environmental poisons, and the various awful things people used as make-up, medicines, remedie ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book had a good review in Booklist so as I looked for a nonfiction book to buy for my 8 year old granddaughter's birthday I thought this would be fun. It might be a little too hard and too long for many 8 year olds but excellent elementary readers won't have a problem (it's really more of a middle school book) and I also have a 10 year old grandson who will probably pick it up as well. The chapters go somewhat chronologically, detailing poisons from ancient days until the present. There ar ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewers
This book goes through the history of poison, from the Ancient world to Modern 21st Century. It has stories of poisoned people, poisonous jobs, and poisonous medicine. You will enjoy the interesting history stories, poisonous jobs, and medicines. There have been many poisonings throughout history, and it's a thrill to get to read about them. You also learn about poisons, like how they can poison someone, how long it takes for them to die, how much is needed to poison them, the symptoms of the po ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is middle grade nonfiction at its finest. It is a well-researched historical look at everything one could ever wonder about poisons- with the perfect amount of details and "snippets" to keep readers entertained. It is a great fit for our unit about the human body that addresses how the medical field has changed over time. ...more
Annette Whipple
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In true Sarah Albee style, she takes an interesting topic and makes it fascinating for the reader! As an adult, I couldn't put this down. I learned so much. It's not just about intentional poisons, but even poisons like nicotine and lead. The listed resources will delight those who want to know more.

I highly recommend this and would especially consider gifting it to a chemistry teacher!
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this. So much great history with a large dose of humor and fun facts that were not distracting like a lot of sidebars in kids' nonfiction. I'll admit, though, I was hoping for a little more "how-to", but the author made it clear in the beginning that she wouldn't tell us how to kill someone, but she certainly showed it with MANY examples throughout history. A fun, fun book! ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, rimsba
While I'm not a huge fan of prescriptive nonfiction, this was a really interesting book! I think the subject matter and the layout will appeal to middle grade readers. I'm not sure if they'll want to read it cover to cover, but I'm sure a lot of them will flip through it to pick up some interesting trivia about poison. ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A history of poisons, deliberate and accidental and dancing in-between, from earliest times forward, told for the sheer voyeuristic fun, with special attention to poisons for beauty ("Drop Dead Gorgeous" boxes) and work ("Nice Work If You Can Survive it") and a few other specialties. It's in a large book with comfortable print and many illustrations, good for reading or for browsing. ...more
Michele Knott
Although readers will not get any "how to" information (phew), they will gain copious info about poisons, the history of them, what they may have been used for, and plenty of poisonous blunders made throughout time! Fantastic nonfiction read for middle grade readers. ...more
Leonard Kim
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Should be very effective for the right reader. Personally I would have liked more rigor, thoughtfulness in tone and selection, and perhaps more of a point. It felt a little grab-baggy to me despite the overarching topic.
The Brothers
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: factoids, poisons
Asher (11yo) read. "One of my favorite stories in this book was 'An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away and So Does a Good Lock!'. I didn't know that there were so many poisons and so many different ways to poison people!" ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating study of human and scientific history-Albee pairs deep research with enjoyable narrative. Excellent back matter. (Index and picture credits still to come in the ARC I read.)
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Sarah Albee is one of my favorites.
An interesting read, but the graphic design seemed a bit busy to me.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
My personal favorites were the "Drop-dead gorgeous" and "Nice work if you can survive it" sections. I'm shocked the human race hasn't wiped itself out yet. ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, juvenile, nonfiction
A fascinating history of poisons, medicines and the medical profession through the ages.
Katie Hutchison Irion
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Truly. I really enjoyed reading this.
Kimberly Turley McKell
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-suggestions
fascinating and disgusting facts. very well written and well researched. would be great for reluctant readers who want to impress their friends with weird facts.
Amy Guertin
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this as part of our non-fiction unit at school. Super interesting!
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chemistry
Good book
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and entertaining look at the history of science, medicine... and poison.
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