The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

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Equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is "a vicious, page-turning story that reads more like Raymond Chandler than Madame Curie" (The New York Observer)

A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice.

In 2014, PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE released a film based on The Poisoner's Handbook.
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About the author

Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum is a professor of science journalism at the University of Wisconsin. She worked as a newspaper science writer for twenty years, winning the Pulitzer in 1992 for her writing about primate research.  She is the author of Ghost Hunters, coeditor of A Field Guide for Science Writers, and has written about scientific research for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Psychology Today, and Mother Jones. She is the president-elect of the National Association of Science Writers and serves on advisory boards for both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 25, 2011
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781101524893
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
Medical / Forensic Medicine
Medical / Toxicology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Morbid and illuminating” (Entertainment Weekly)—a young mortician goes behind the scenes of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

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This is the official text for the National Association of Science Writers. In the eight years since the publication of the first edition of A Field Guide for Science Writing, much about the world has changed. Some of the leading issues in today's political marketplace - embryonic stem cell research, global warming, health care reform, space exploration, genetic privacy, germ warfare - are informed by scientific ideas. Never has it been more crucial for the lay public to be scientifically literate. That's where science writers come in. And that's why it's time for an update to the Field Guide, already a staple of science writing graduate programs across the country. The academic community has recently recognized how important it is for writers to become more sophisticated, knowledgeable, and skeptical about what they write. More than 50 institutions now offer training in science writing. In addition mid-career fellowships for science writers are growing, giving journalists the chance to return to major universities for specialized training. We applaud these developments, and hope to be part of them with this new edition of the Field Guide. In A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd Edition, the editors have assembled contributions from a collections of experienced journalists who are every bit as stellar as the group that contributed to the first edition. In the end, what we have are essays written by the very best in the science writing profession. These wonderful writers have written not only about style, but about content, too. These leaders in the profession describe how they work their way through the information glut to find the gems worth writing about. We also have chapters that provide the tools every good science writer needs: how to use statistics, how to weigh the merits of conflicting studies in scientific literature, how to report about risk. And, ultimately, how to write.
This is the official text for the National Association of Science Writers. In the eight years since the publication of the first edition of A Field Guide for Science Writing, much about the world has changed. Some of the leading issues in today's political marketplace - embryonic stem cell research, global warming, health care reform, space exploration, genetic privacy, germ warfare - are informed by scientific ideas. Never has it been more crucial for the lay public to be scientifically literate. That's where science writers come in. And that's why it's time for an update to the Field Guide, already a staple of science writing graduate programs across the country. The academic community has recently recognized how important it is for writers to become more sophisticated, knowledgeable, and skeptical about what they write. More than 50 institutions now offer training in science writing. In addition mid-career fellowships for science writers are growing, giving journalists the chance to return to major universities for specialized training. We applaud these developments, and hope to be part of them with this new edition of the Field Guide. In A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd Edition, the editors have assembled contributions from a collections of experienced journalists who are every bit as stellar as the group that contributed to the first edition. In the end, what we have are essays written by the very best in the science writing profession. These wonderful writers have written not only about style, but about content, too. These leaders in the profession describe how they work their way through the information glut to find the gems worth writing about. We also have chapters that provide the tools every good science writer needs: how to use statistics, how to weigh the merits of conflicting studies in scientific literature, how to report about risk. And, ultimately, how to write.
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