From Greek philosophers to former Russian spies, the use of poison as a means of ending a life - whether through assassination, murder, suicide, or execution - has a history stretching back over 2,000 years. Even before Socrates accepted his fate by drinking hemlock, countless people must have died as a result of ingesting naturally occurring poisons. And yet poisonous materials often also have beneficial properties: hydrogen fluoride, for example, is highly toxic to humans, but is also a vital component in the production of herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and fluorescent light bulbs. Poison: a Social History explores the nature of toxicity and reveals how poison has played a crucial and often unheralded role - for good and for bad - in human history. As well as examining a range of poisonous materials, it also contains case studies of famous, and infamous, poisonings, including Cleopatra VII of Egypt (d. 30 BC), Emperor Hui of Jin China (d. AD 304), Pope Clement VII (d. 1534), Erwin Rommel (d. 1944), Hermann Goring (d.1946) and Alan Turing (d. 1954).
|Publication date:||1st February 2011|
|Publisher:||The History Press Ltd|
Closing date: 07/06/2022