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A beguiling concoction-equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller.
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.
We take it for granted today that we should kiss our children, hug our friends, and comfort our partners. But until recently, the “experts” thought otherwise. In fact, in the early 20th century, affection between parents and children was very much discouraged—psychologists thought it would create needy and demanding offspring; doctors were convinced it would spread infectious disease. It took a revolution in psychology to overturn these beliefs, and prove that a loving touch not only didn’t harm babies but in fact ensured their emotional and intellectual growth.
In Love at Goon Park, Deborah Blum charts this profound cultural shift by tracing the story of the man who made it possible: a brilliant, alcoholic, work-obsessed psychologist named Harry Harlow.
Pursuing the idea that human affection could be understood, studied, even measured, Harlow arrived at his conclusions…[more]