The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

A New York Times Notable Book From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blum, the dramatic true story of how food was made safe in the United States and the heroes, led by the inimitable Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who fought for change By the end of nineteenth century, food was dangerous. Lethal, even. "Milk" might contain formaldehyde, mo A New York Times Notable Book From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blu...

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Title:The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Author:Deborah Blum
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:1594205140
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:352 pages pages

The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Reviews

  • Emily Sessa
    Dec 24, 2018
    I may never eat canned or processed food again. I would like to think that most of the horrifying practices described in this book are now impossible thanks to government regulation... but having read the book, I know that would be beyond naive to assume. Blum chronicles the earliest s...
  • Dennis
    Jan 16, 2019
    I love well-written, engaging non-fiction, and Blum is 2 for 2 (The Poisoner?s Handbook) for me so far. This one has more of a cautionary message than the previous, illustrating that government protection of business over its citizens is nothing new, and that we?ve been fighting th...
  • Erin
    Jan 15, 2019
    Listened to audiobook. I may be more interested in this book than your average American because I do work with agriculture regulations, but I loved this snapshot of the Dr. Wiley and the eventual creation of the FDA. It is both comforting and frustrating to see that the more th...
  • Annie
    Oct 22, 2018
    The Poison Squad: One Chemist?s Single-Minded Crusade For Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, by Deborah Blum, is as close to a perfect work of nonfiction as I can imagine. If I didn?t know better, I would have said that it was custom written for me. This book follows...
  • Emily
    Dec 26, 2018
    This author's previous book is one of the most popular I've encountered, in that everyone I know who's read it, loved it. It was about the emergence of forensic medicine (and solving poisoning cases) against the backdrop of Prohibition-era New York. In this work she takes on a scie...
  • Jillian Doherty
    Mar 09, 2018
    Page turning and solicitous! This incredible story widens the view of what we think we know about how our nation?s food. From flood shavings in the chowder, to exactly how much plaster makes sour milk looks just right again ? this book is for anyone who loves reading about history ...
  • David
    Nov 17, 2018
    It is heartening to see this excellent new history getting favorable attention on the radio, in newspapers, in online journals, and in both food blogs and science blogs. In addition, there are already many reviews here on Goodreads that adequately summarize and elaborate on this boo...
  • Matthew
    Jan 15, 2019
    I loved this book. Since I have been working in food safety for a while now, this book spoke to me on a lot of levels. The book is also very accessible and an easy read. First of all, some of the descriptions of contamination are truly horrifying. But in that way that makes you want to...
  • Lisa
    Nov 14, 2018
    This book describes the work of Department of Agriculture chemist Harvey Wiley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wiley worked tirelessly to get the U.S. government to regulate food producers and marketers, who were producing foods in highly unsanitary conditions and...
  • Leah K
    Dec 26, 2018
    A fascinating look at the beginning of the FDA and the man who made it possible. Definitely kept me interested. We've come so far and have so much further to go. ...
  • Dennis Hogan
    Jan 14, 2019
    Just finished The Poison Squad: One Chemists?s Single Minded Crusade at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum a scary book that recounts the sad state of US food safety in the early twentieth century: formaldehyde to extend shelf life in milk, chemical agents to bleach fl...
  • Filippe
    Jan 12, 2019
    ?The Shutdown is Bad For Anyone Who Eats Food?, says Stephen Colbert on Friday, January 11. ?Don't Panic: The Government Shutdown Isn't Making Food Unsafe?, counters NPR?s Dan Charles on Weekend Update the following morning. It?s 2019, but you?d be forgiven for thinkin...
  • Eustacia Tan
    Dec 03, 2018
    After reading about how teas used to be adulterated, the synopsis of The Poison Squad caught my eye. And, I have to admit, the book shocked me ? I didn?t think that deception in food could be that bad! The Poison Squad is the story of Harvey Wiley, the father of the Pure Food an...
  • Chelsea Shipp
    Dec 31, 2018
    America's problems seems be on repeat, reformer working towards progress vs big business working towards self interest. Shouldn't we know some of the original stories of resistance? Here's a great one that is new to me. This is the frustrating and inspiring tale of Dr. Harvey Wiley, th...
  • Jeimy
    Oct 22, 2018
    This is billed as a fascinating story about how food was made safe in America, but I have to disagree with the second part of that statement. It is about how food was made safer. However, it doesn't take much for readers to see how much our capitalistic government bends to serve the wh...
  • Virginia
    May 07, 2018
    An intense historical narrative about the fight to regulate food in the US. Deborah Blum's book will shock and intrigue you as she goes through the life of Harvey Washington Wiley's whose research and strength pushed legislation to protect the current and next generation of Americans f...
  • Brenda Ayala
    Sep 13, 2018
    Dude. The Industrial Revolution, for all its major leaps toward with invention and innovation, definitely fucked over some people. Like a lot of people. The biggest take away from this nonfiction book is that given the opportunity, big business will screw us over tenfold unles...
  • Chain Reading
    Dec 08, 2018
    This narrative non-fiction tells the story of the struggle for the legislation that grew into the Pure Food and Drug Act, and Harvey Wiley, the passionate, blunt and relentless scientist that made it happen despite intense political opposition and pressure from industry. I enjoyed this...
  • Brandt
    Jan 14, 2019
    An in-depth look at all the horrible shit food manufacturers used to put into the food, the government being on the take to let them, and the one government employee who made it his life's mission to end it. This book has the typical hallmarks of showing us, that like the 2008 financia...
  • Angela Longstreet
    Jan 01, 2019
    Be prepared to never want to eat anything that you haven't grown yourself ever again. You will most likely be appalled, flabbergasted and dismayed at the ridiculousness of utter disregard for human life all for the $. The amount of years that it took to get any wiggle room into keeping...
  • Papaphilly
    Nov 14, 2018
    What an amazing book. This is both truly well written and a reminder how history repeats. if you hear about how good the food used to be, this book reminds you how good the food really was not. The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twe...
  • hedgehog
    Dec 21, 2018
    4.5*. Easy to read, lively, informative: all the things I want from casual history books. Despite the title, little page time is spent on the actual "Poison Squad" trials, alas, but there are enough gross details about the state of the food industry to feed my morbid curiosity. The cre...
  • Carissa
    Dec 03, 2018
    A really, really good book that follows the career of Harvey Wiley and his crusade for food safety. It is astounding, if you weren't already aware, of exactly what was put into foods and drugs when no regulation existed. It is astounding, if not surprising, what manufacturers would do ...
  • Mary Van Opstal
    Nov 09, 2018
    This is a fantastic and engaging book even for its grotesque description of adulterated and poisoned food in late 19th and early 20th century. I love all of this because it?s chemistry, and the main character food chemist Harvey Wiley is fascinating and a crusader for pure food. It?...
  • Mary
    Nov 07, 2018
    Fascinating but, at the same time, deeply disturbing, account of the decades-long effort by Dr. Harvey Wiley, a chemist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the beginning of the 20th century, to protect consumers from adulterated food and drugs. A hundred years ago, Dr. Wiley's nam...
  • Amy
    Nov 01, 2018
    During his successful 2016 campaign for the White House, Trump promised to have his cabinet "submit a list of every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs, and which does not improve public safety, and eliminate them." His FDA commission, Scott Gottlieb, followed that pro...
  • Beth Menendez
    Jan 05, 2019
    Solid 4.5 stars. I'm dinging it half a star because it is a scince-y book that can get a little dry at times and I think it may lose some readers because of this. However, for anyone who think that the Whole Foods movement and Clean Eating is a new fad, you are gravely mistaken. Debora...
  • Claudia
    Oct 25, 2018
    Today, when talking about the safety of our food, we are concerned with MSG; high-fructose corn syrup; trans fats, synthetic sweeteners, artificial colors among others. In the late 1800's into the early years of the twentieth century, you would have been concerned more about arsenic, f...
  • E
    Nov 29, 2018
    Clearly well-researched, it's a look into the life of Dr. Harvey Wiley and also the precursor department to what we know as the FDA today. It's both fascinating and horrifying, the list of preservatives and agents that industry manufacturers considered common to put in their food for t...
  • Collin Lysford
    Jan 13, 2019
    Everything old is new again, and this history of chemist Harvey Wiley fighting against food regulation echoes a lot into the present day. This book does a great job of covering the backroom wheeling and dealing that rises up to weaken what should be useful regulation. It's actually one...