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The Poison Eaters

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  12 reviews

"Revolting and riveting in turns, Jarrow's masterfully crafted narrative will fundamentally alter how readers view their food.Though laced with toxins, this is anything but toxic." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Here is the fascinating true story of how food was made safer to eat thanks to the stubborn dedication of government chemist Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, whose

Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Boyds Mills; Calkins Creek
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Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been an avid fan of Jarrow since I returned to teaching and discovered Red Madness. She is a master of her craft and writes nonfiction with a distinguished style. When students hit 6th grade after being tortured by leveled elementary reading groups using dry nonfiction- it is difficult to persuade students to pick up an authentic nonfiction book. I'm very thankful that Jarrow has written this page-turning series of nonfiction books. After a book talk, students are clamoring to get their ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The history of the FDA, (America's Food & Drug Administration) mostly told as a biography of Harvey Wiley who spent the early 1900s championing for federal involvement in adulterated food and its safety. Told in Jarrow's skillful way, so there's suspense and interest and great illustrations. It continues for a few chapters after Wiley retires (both from the FDA and then from life) to trace strengthening of the law.

I missed any look at the idea that gov't regulation can go too far -- Jarrow
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Never thought I’d be reading a book about the beginnings of the FDA! Never thought I’d care! But WOW, what a book! Honestly it’s just amazing that as a human race we’re even still alive!
This book is so fascinating and informative! It’s crazy to read about all the stuff we used to ingest and how shady so many people were.

The first half of the book is the story of U.S. Department of Agriculture chemist Harvey Wiley, who spent most of his life warring against food adulteration. He conducted a
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another outstanding contribution in public health history from the always fascinating Gail Jarrow. This tells the important and little known origins of the FDA and the horrifying reasons why such an agency was so necessary both in the past and now.

Packed with fascinating and often revolting details, stories of the incredibly brave researchers, plenty of well-explained medical science and historical background. Wonderful back matter and documentation as always. An must for every all middle school
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a process - getting the FDA started, getting food additives and preservatives standardized and keeping our food safe for eating. Then add in drug claims and products that cause blindness and death, and the issues get even more complex. Jarrow presents this struggle in a clear, methodical and fascinating way that will pull in even reluctant middle grade readers. It's a powerful addition to the nonfiction catalog and a rare glimpse into the what we eat and put on and into our bodies, and ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes we complain that the Food and Drug Administration is too picky about the labels on our food, but boy was the situation awful before they were policing the chemicals, rat poop, and other nonsense that has been sold to us unsuspecting consumers! This is kind of an interesting topic, but I'm a little surprised it's a whole book. I think the point could have been made with an article, or maybe a chapter in a longer book about... food? Laws? Typical middle school readers may find themselves ...more
Barb Butz
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and gripping look into the history of the FDA and what led to the need for its existence. Startling historical facts, photographs and images help create an excellent read. Even those who shy aware from non-fiction for fear of being “bored” will be amazingly surprised by the interesting and relevant info presented here.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the fascinating history of the Food and Drug Administration. There's chemistry, death, deception, and politics. I had multiple aha moments, finally understanding why something today is the way it is. I highly recommend this book.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an easy and fun read about a bad time in US Food history. Seemed like it was maybe written as a textbook or for younger readers, it has glossy paper and large print and small chapters. Still interesting and fun to read.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
With a great hook (people willingly ate poison for science?!) this book is a well-researched and fascinating look at the history of the FDA. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this fast-paced nonfiction read.
Nov 20, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: Ella
This book was interesting is was about bad stuff in people food and how some kids were taking drugs because they thought it was medicine.
Dana C.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Good introduction to food safety and the power of activism. My grandpa was a Food and Drug chemist, so I was looking for a little deeper dive into the science.
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Gail Jarrow is the award-winning author of nonfiction books and novels for readers 8-18.