More of the chemistry was new to me than the history. It gets better after the introduction.
I really enjoyed this book, but I've always had an interest in chemistry. There were so many compounds, which were seemingly unrelated, interwoven between the chapters. The writing style helped me to remember previous chapter material better than I normally do in popular science books. It's amazing to think that parts of human history would be entirely different if one small atom was exchanged for another - whether it be slavery or drug addiction or pesticides, etc. I wish that my chemistry courses had had a book like this in them.
If you don't have much of a chemistry background and are curious, this book does attempt to teach you some basic chemistry. I think with grade 12 chemistry or higher, it's easily understandable.
Finally! This was a slow, deliberate read for me. The information in this text is compelling on a lot of levels - I love the connections between chemistry, history, culture, geography, etc. The inclusion of the drawings of chemical structures was hard for me to wrap my brain around because it has been SO LONG since I've taken chemistry that a lot of it was over my head. But it was valuable in that it helped me understand how really small changes created totally different reactions in the molecules.
an exellent study of the trade in rare natural organic compandsd andartical ones and their effects on history.
This book will help people with understand chemistry! It really helped me, and the book is really interesting!
Great book, combining history with basic chemistry (for the lay person). Short stories about various substances, and how they may have changed history. This book should appeal to fans of Jay Ingram and Joe Schwarcz.
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