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Death in the Pot: The Impact of Food Poisoning on History [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 22.94  
Retail Value $ 26.99  
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Item Number 415914  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   258
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.08 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 17, 2007
Publisher   Prometheus Books
ISBN  1591025141  
EAN  9781591025146  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 05:39.
Usually ships within one to two business days from Momence, IL.
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Item Description...
In 2005, the Argonne National Laboratory proved that the great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven died prematurely from lead poisoning. This is just one example of how poisoning, both natural and deliberate, has affected the course of history.

Battles have been lost or won--as internationally renowned food expert Morton Satin shows-because of unclean, adulterated food. In this engrossing narrative, Satin spans the ancient world to the present day, documenting events both tragic and bizarre through the ages. In the fifth century B.C.E., the great plague of Athens, probably caused by contaminated cereals, led to the defeat of the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War. In the prescientific Middle Ages, illnesses resulting from contaminated food were often attributed to the wrath of God or malevolent spirits. Heavily infectious ergot induced a spasmodic muscle condition, which the Church named "St. Anthony's Fire" and interpreted as retribution by God on heretics. Similarly, in seventeenth-century America the hallucinogenic symptoms of moldy grain were thought by Puritans to be signs of witchcraft. Even the madness of King George III, which played a role in the American Revolution, may have been induced by accidental arsenic poisoning.

In the twentieth century, Satin recounts the efforts of modern industrial societies to make food safer; in some cases these efforts were heroic. For example, in the early days of the Food and Drug Administration a "Poison Squad" was formed, consisting of young scientists who willingly acted as guinea pigs to test the toxic effects of chemical additives. Today, the government has focused on the hazards of food bioterrorism. Satin concludes by describing measures taken to protect the public from intentional and unintentional poisoning, as well as recounting recent poisoning incidents, including which poison recently laced the food of Russian ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, and how did it kill him?.

Both a fascinating glimpse into history from a unique angle and an authoritative reference work on food safety, Death in the Pot offers entertaining and informative reading for laypersons as well as experts in food technology and public health.

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More About Morton Satin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Morton Satin is a retired executive director of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association and adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He has published more than 250 scientific and lay publications on foodborne diseases and related subjects in a wide variety of publications, including the New Scientist. He lives in Rockville, Maryland.

Morton Satin has an academic affiliation as follows - AGSI, Rome, Italy.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Thrilling and Informative Masterpiece  Nov 9, 2007
I found this book almost impossible to put down. In six chapters, the author, a molecular biologist, describes various instances in human history in which some sort of poisoning occurred. Some of these poisonings were purely accidental while others were deliberate, but they all involved the interactions between the human body and the various toxins that can cause it harm. Indeed, one can wonder how the human race has survived for so long in view of all the dangerous substances that can be innocently ingested. The many incidents described span millennia - the latest one having occurred only a couple of years ago. For each case, the author has included the relevant historical information, the aftermath and current understanding of what happened. I found the writing style to be particularly outstanding: it is simple, clear, engaging, authoritative, friendly and quite witty in many places (in fact, on a couple of instances, I found myself laughing out loud). Although this gripping masterpiece can be enjoyed by anyone, it may be particularly relished by history, true crime and science buffs alike.
A fine history packed with footnoted references  Nov 3, 2007
DEATH IN THE POT: THE IMPACT OF FOOD POISONING ON HISTORY is an intriguing college-level survey of how food poisoning has affected history, whether the poisoning was intentional or unintentional. From an early 5th century Athens plague probably caused by contaminated cereals which led to their defeat in the Peloponnesian War to efforts to make modern food safer, this is a fine history packed with footnoted references and perfect for both college-level history and health collections alike.

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