Most Delicious Poison: The Story of Nature’s Toxins—from Spices to Vices

Brilliance Audio. Oct. 2023. 11:08 hrs. ISBN 9781713625476. $42.99. SCI
Evolutionary biologist Whiteman’s debut masterfully weaves together science, history, and personal grief. Bouncing between chemistry, biology, evolution, and world history, he focuses on the origins of toxins and how they have been used by humans as medicines, spices, and pesticides. Topics range from the Opium Wars to modern cancer treatments, with a special focus on substance-use disorder, which contributed to his father’s death. Whiteman shares how his father influenced his love of science, while his disorder sparked an interest in natural toxins. He explains that many socially acceptable toxins (e.g., coffee) are used widely, but the calculus changes when it comes to substance-use disorder, for which some people are at greater risk. Whiteman’s narration is wholly engaging. He isn’t as smooth as a pro but is all heart, which will move listeners as much as the science intrigues them. Further, his ability to pronounce all of the words builds confidence with the audience.
VERDICT This audiobook is rigorous and technical but relatable. Recommended where patrons show interest in popular science and history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing