The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison
Was Napoleon killed by the arsenic in his wallpaper? How did Rasputin survive cyanide poisoning? Which chemicals in our environment pose the biggest threat to our health today? In The Elements of Murder, John Emsley answers these questions and offers a fascinating account of five of the most... show more
Was Napoleon killed by the arsenic in his wallpaper? How did Rasputin survive cyanide poisoning? Which chemicals in our environment pose the biggest threat to our health today? In The Elements of Murder, John Emsley answers these questions and offers a fascinating account of five of the most toxic elements--arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury, and thallium--describing their lethal chemical properties and highlighting their use in some of the most famous murder cases in history. In this exciting book, we meet a who's who of heartless murderers. Mary Ann Cotton, who used arsenic to murder her mother, three husbands, a lover, eight of her own children, and seven step children; Michael Swango, who may have killed as many as 60 of his patients and several of his colleagues during the 20 years he practiced as a doctor and paramedic; and even Saddam Hussein, who used thallium sulfate to poison his political rivals. Emsley also shows which toxic elements may have been behind the madness of King George III, the delusions of Isaac Newton, and the strange death of King Charles II. In addition, the book examines many modern day environmental catastrophes, including accidental mass poisonings from lead and arsenic, and the Minamata Bay disaster in Japan. Written by a leading science writer, famous for his knowledge of the elements and their curious and colorful histories, The Elements of Murder offers an enticing combination of true crime tales and curious science that adds up to an addictive read.
Publish date: September 14th 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages no: 432
Edition language: English
He was 32-years-old but had gone grey, which he jokingly said was due to quicksilver. Although there is no connection between the two, there is a link between the body burden of several metals and their level in hair. Mercury, lead, arsenic, and antimony, are particularly attracted to the sulphur at...
This book is unique and very worthwhile to read! I would count it as a 'living book' about chemistry. Living because while it explains the chemistry behind many elements known now to be poisonous, it is told not from a dry technical perspective but within the context of people that were affected b...