Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman

About the Book:

The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns, and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots.

Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with mercury and lead. Men rubbed turds on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings, and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. The most gorgeous palaces were little better than filthy latrines. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don’t see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines. 

In The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman combines her unique access to royal archives with cutting-edge forensic discoveries to tell the true story of Europe’s glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness, and, sometimes, murder.


About the Author:

Eleanor Herman is the author of Sex with Kings, Sex with the Queen, and several other works of pop history. She has hosted Lost Worlds for The History Channel, The Madness of Henry VIII for the National Geographic Channel, and is now filming her second season of America: Fact vs. Fiction for The American Heroes Channel. Eleanor lives with her husband, their black lab, and her four very dignified cats in McLean, VA.

My Review:

The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul is quite an interesting read. I found it fascinating what was used in the past to cure ailments, what people would do to themselves, and what is now seems weird of what they would eat. It is no wonder so many people died so early in life and why women died in childbirth.

After reading this, it makes me grateful for the knowledge of modern medicines, cosmetics, and poisons. I give this book four and a half stars.

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

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