➹ The Poison Principle Author Gail Bell – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Poison Principle

  1. says:

    I ve mixed feelings about this On the one hand, this book deals with a very interesting subject both in terms of the author s personal family history and also regarding poisoning in general and there is plenty of variety and breadth in the content of this quirky book Bell comes over as intelligent and blessed with an interesting wit and willingness to touch on a wide range of aspects of the subject of this book science, art, history, literature, even philosophy and psychology It makes for a read which is often enlightening and impactful.So why the three star mark For me because I never escaped the feeling that this was a fifty page family history story padded out with a hundred pages of relevant background, and a hundred pages of meandering nonsense The latter half of the book is mired in irrelevant musings on famous incidents, portrayals and rumours of poisonings, often going well past the...


  2. says:

    Things I don t need 1 A true crime book that turns into the history of poison.2 A nonfiction book that uses over the top flowery language better suited for a Harelequinn Novel.3 To know the dictionary s definition of executed Any author still using this tranisition trick should be executed from the literary world unless they are in fifth grade and writing an ...


  3. says:

    Poison is rarely if ever perfect In 1927, William Macbeth apparently poisoned two of his sons with strychnine William Macbeth was Gail Bell s grandfather, and he died before she was born When Gail was ten, her grandfather s sample case was delivered to her father She opened one of the bottles in the case, and put the end of the stopper to her nose My father snatched it from my hand and said Never, never do that You could die In 1980, Ms Bell spoke with her Great Aunt Rose, six months before Rose s death, and was told about William Macbeth Rose s story was that she and her younger sister Ellen met William Macbeth, a travelling showman who travelled the country selling his miracle cures Ellen and William married and had four sons But when the marriage came under strain, according to Rose, William poisoned first his retarded first son Thomas and then a few months later his son Patrick Ellen left with her two surviving sons while William, although never tried for these murders, continued his life of crime According to Rose, he impersonated a doctor in a lunatic asylum, stole money from the bank account of a rich inmate and then, decades later, died of tuberculosis.Ms Bell thought that there must be to the story, and was struck by the comment of another relative who believed that Rose herself fancied William, until he m...


  4. says:

    This is a weird comparison to make, since the subject matter is very different, but I had the same problem with this book as I did with The Bling Ring there s too much information and too little analysis Bell decided to tackle her family history, the different concepts of poisoners throughout the entire history of time AND threw in a bunch of very literary prose that had nothing to do with real life In the end, it was a lot of ideas thrown at you without much thought behind them The story about her family was very interesting, and I wish she had stuck with that Obviously, the question of whether or not William MacBeth poisoned his sons might not have made a whole book, but I would have loved context It was difficult to tell when any of this was happening because she spent so little time setting the scene The parts she did get into how someone with no medical license could have passed himself off as a doctor at the time were fascinating, and I wish she had talked about what the Australian criminal justice system was like at the time.Also view spoiler I understand that the truth of the matter was that the oldest son was committed to an institution and died of pneu...


  5. says:

    Deceit, betrayal, fact, inquiry and a whole of a lot of science I learned a few things about poison and power, which I think was one of my favourite themes that the author explored I also admired the depth of research in poison history and poison stories that were so intriguing There were definitely times when I dozed off and whole minutes in which I tuned out the science, but it wasn t totally focused on tha...


  6. says:

    I wanted to like this one a lot than I did.It takes a long, circuitous route to discover the truth about the poisoning of two of Bell s uncles, when they were infants Using exceptional research, it tells the...


  7. says:

    this is one of those fascinating books where you don t know quite what you are about to learn from one page to the next If you too love learning about poisons and those who administer them, you can t go wrong with this book Even for those of you who don t have quite the same niche interest as me, there is plenty to ponder on the literary side, those myths, fairy tales through Shakespeare and Gustave Flaubert s Madame Bovary and taking in a few other s along the way.The backbone of the book is the discovery the author made that her paternal Grandfather had poisoned two of his young sons in their Australian home in 1927 The author started to unravel the truth behind this family tale in 1980 by contacting her Grandmother s sister who one afternoon agreed to be interviewed and told her the facts, the background to the perpetrator William Macbeth, and what life was like for the family at the time, and afterwards.The book does read a little like a stream of consciousness but fortunately that stream is one of knowledge coupled with intelligence so it maintains a loose kind of structure Along the way we learn about the origins of some of the popular poisons, famous poisoners which include those who used this method as suicide, forensics and even a poisoned circus elephant gets a place in this eclectic read.My interest in poisoners has me fairly w...


  8. says:

    I don t usually go to the effort of writing reviews for bad books, because I feel for the most part that bad books usually are easily identified For example, one does not usually pick up a Harlequin Romance expecting great literature Or even much variation in plot.This book is an exception It was surprisingly bad, but the blurbs on the cover specifically describe otherwise, to my great disappointment It was so annoying, I am going to list the reasons.1 The book title includes the statement A Story of Family Secrets The only problem is that it is not This book is a diatribe or treatise on poisoning, with a little bit of the family story thrown in to try to bond it all together It fails to do even this, since the family story made up so little of the book.2 When I mention treatise, I mean it This book jumps from topic to topic to topic, touching on everything but covering nothing in great detail When I picked up this book, I wanted to read about a family story I did not want to read about for example Nathaniel Hawthorne s use of poisoning in his story Rappacchini s Daughter , how cruel animal research is the basis of what we know about poisons today, the use of cyanide in capital punishment, a history into Victorian age research into the effects...


  9. says:

    Quite a satisfying non fiction book about poisons, poisoners and the poisoned The author s family has its own poisoned past, the investigation of which she threads through the narrative More of a researched stream of consciousness , as my friend Libby said, than a manifesto of any kind, I have to say I did get a bit frustrated towards the end with all Bell s wafty semi philosophical ramblings when all I wanted to know really was if her grandfather really poisoned his sons or not Obviously not the son that eventually begat Bell, though That is the inherent problem of this type of book, I suppose, where you begin on page one with a mystery to be solved, knowing you will not find out the answer until page last Somehow, you have to keep the suspense going, and it wavered a bit for me by the end For instance, I am not really interested in Bell s idle imaginings of how Cleopatra may have been saved by one of her poor handmaidens when she was trying to kill herself via snakebite this has too much of the well the Romans COULD have built it this way SBS faux history documentary for my liking.But still, quite a fascinating read, and I may be employing a food taster once I am rich enough because Bell s right, we do every day partake of thousands of small acts of faith, e.g that the sandwich we bought from the shops for...


  10. says:

    Everything I could want in a book Murder a history of Poisons through the ages How to on combing combining the above as my boss pointed out when I explained the entire book to him at work he is never eating anything I bake again Crazy family antics Twists to die for, literallyAnd deliciou...


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