Most Delicious Poison: The Story of Nature's Toxins--From Spices to Vices

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Product Details
$30.00  $27.90
Little, Brown Spark
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.5 X 1.2 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author
Noah Whiteman is an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Professor of Integrative Biology and of Molecular and Cell Biology. At Berkeley, he is also affiliated with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Center for Computational Biology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Jepson and University Herbaria, and Essig Museum of Entomology. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020 to write Most Delicious Poison and lives in Oakland.
"Humans have benefitted for millennia from the wild variety of healing, intoxicating, delicious or stimulating toxins produced by the biological warfare that pervades the natural world. Whiteman provides a wonderful overview of the diversity and ubiquity of these drugs, giving us an inspiring, entertaining look at both the richness of nature and the clever ways humans--and many other species--have learned to exploit it."--Edward Slingerland, author of Drunk
"Through captivating storytelling, Noah Whiteman breathes life into the history of nature's toxins, exploring the pleasures, comforts, and agonies that have shaped human evolution as it has intertwined with the evolution of these vital yet often overlooked organisms."--Beth Shapiro, author of How to Clone a Mammoth
"Magisterial, fascinating, and gripping, Noah Whiteman's Most Delicious Poison is a tour de force. With infectious enthusiasm and deep knowledge, Whiteman opens the curtain behind the substances that affect all of our lives."--Neil Shubin, paleontologist and author of Your Inner Fish
"Noah Whiteman expertly reveals the evolution of the toxins that permeate our daily lives in this deeply researched and fascinating book."--Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate, CRISPR gene editing co-inventor, and Innovative Genomics Institute founder
"I wish I could travel the world with Noah Whiteman and enjoy firsthand his deep and eclectic knowledge of the thousands of compounds that plants evolved to defend themselves against predators. Fortunately, he has written Most Delicious Poison. This exuberant, poignant, and mind-blowing guide will transform how you think about plants and how humans use and abuse their toxins to flavor food, treat disease, alter moods, and more."--Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body and Exercised
"A fascinating discussion of how nature's toxins can affect us all."--Kirkus Reviews
"This amusing debut from Whiteman, an evolutionary biology professor at UC Berkeley, explores the 'ways that toxins from nature arose, have been used by us humans and other animals, and have consequently changed the world.'"--Publishers Weekly
"Biologist Noah Whiteman's exacting yet expansive analysis reminds us that although they 'permeate our lives in the most mundane and profound ways, ' the toxic chemicals we use every day are not nature's gifts to us but rather its munitions."--Dana Dunham, Scientific American
"Whiteman's provocative volume will make the reader think differently about familiar substances like coffee, cayenne, and cocaine."--Margaret Quamme, Booklist
"Aficionados of chemical form, people interested in botanical pharmacology and toxicology, and those who are simply curious about the origins of their drugs and spices will find much to enjoy in this fascinating compendium."--Emily Monosson, Nature
"Personal and well-researched, Most Delicious Poison has wide appeal, in part, as Whiteman points out, because indulging in nature's toxins 'is an essential part of what it means to be human.' So go ahead. Pour a cup of herbal tea, add some drops of lavender oil to the diffuser and enjoy this mind-bending read."--Aaron Tremper, Science News
"Well worth a read. Spare the time to mull over each chapter for slightly longer than you might otherwise, if just to let the poison sink in."--Tom Leslie, New Scientist