Poison (Paperback)

A History: An Account of the Deadly Art and its Most Infamous Practitioners

By Jenni Davis

Chartwell Books, 9780785835882, 192pp.

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

List Price: 12.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Poison: A History lifts the lid on 30 notorious cases of poisoning—riveting accounts ranging from Roman poisoning epidemics to the shocking antics of toxic aristocrats in 16th-century Florence and 17th-century Versailles, all the way up to the murder of Alexander Litvinenko by means of a polonium-laced cup of tea in 2006.
Cases of intentional poisoning have likely been occurring since early humans discovered that a sour aftertaste isn't the only consequence of snacking on belladonna. In the twenty-first century, the art of the poisoner remains just as creepy, secret, and horribly fascinating as ever. Poison: A History reveals intriguing insights into the poisonous art, including the psyches of the perpetrators. These richly illustrated stories detail both motive and method, along with body count.

The five chapters in this comprehensive overview of poisoning take us from 399 BCE to the present day, in chronological order: Poison in the Ancient World, Medieval Times and the Renaissance, Mid 17th to 18th centuries: “The Skills of Witches,” 19th century: The Golden Age of Poisoning, and From Cults to Espionage: the 1970s and Beyond. Plus, Poison: A History includes a timeline on fashions in poison, and a top-20 identifier—to help you steer clear.

Poison: A History is a chilling cabinet of poison sure to inform and fascinate.

About the Author

Jenni Davis is a history, heritage, and travel writer with a passion for the past, exploring its stories and unsolved mysteries. She is the author of several history titles, such as Scottish Clans and Tartans, Cathedral Architecture, and The Irish Americans.