Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
The Royal Art of Poison
The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul | Eleanor Herman
Aja Raden, author of Stoned: "Herman has a delightful appreciation for all things beautiful and terrible. With her dishy signature style and a dazzling command of the facts, she brews up a heady mix of erudite history and delicious gossip." Hugely entertaining, a work of pop history that traces the use of poison as a politicaland cosmetictool in the royal courts of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Kremlin today 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 familys 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 dont 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 Europes glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness, and, sometimes, murder.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
S.Web
post image
Pickpick

Super interesting and very easy to read. If time travel is ever invented, remind me never to visit a medieval castle.

review
Oblomov26
post image
Pickpick

A page (and often stomach) turning read. Herman provides a fascinating overview of the history of royal poisoning, both intentional but also accidental from medicine, make up, magic potions and other dangerous substances which our ancestors surrounded themselves with. After the overview, she investigates a series of specific cases throughout history, looking at what contemporaries believed and also modern interpretations of the cases.

Oblomov26

Also a word of warning, contains graphic description of the effects of poisoning and also the contents of many truly awful potions and medicinal elixir‘s
2mo
JazzFeathers But it does sound very interesting. 2mo
Cathythoughts Fascinating ! And great cover too 2mo
42 likes2 stack adds3 comments
review
SkeletonKey
post image
Pickpick

Almost finished listening to this one. Wow. Did you know that randomly found horns were thought to be unicorn horns and could be used to test drinks for poison when royals were traveling?

This book makes your tum ache, not just from poison descriptions but also from the incurable illnesses of the time that were mistaken for poison.

Fascinating book. Also gross.

#poison #truecrime

29 likes2 comments
blurb
lilistar
post image

Looking forward to chilling this weekend and learning about silly royals using arsenic for makeup! #tbr #currentlyreading

thereadingowlvina I enjoyed this one! 😁👍 4mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 💖📖💖 4mo
Readswithcoffee Welcome to Litsy 👍🏻📚📖📚 4mo
CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 4mo
3 likes4 comments
review
Ahvikas
Pickpick

One of my introductions to history was the Horrible History series. They were written in a fun, jaunty tone. You learned not only who did what, but how amazing, odd, and how gross people could be, to our modern eyes. This book reminds me a lot of those books.

Herman's writing feels like an excited friend telling you all about something over a drink. Her work is clearly well-researched though, and she makes the past lively and very human.

2 likes1 stack add
blurb
WanderingBookaneer
post image

MicheleinPhilly 😂😂 6mo
MMFinck Ha!! 6mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🤣🤣🤣🤣 6mo
Craftylikefox 😂😂😂 6mo
114 likes4 comments
blurb
wen4blu
post image

This book is equal parts fascinating and disgusting. I can only imagine what people in passing cars thought when they saw me waving my hands frantically and shouting "eeeewwww" at parts like using the hand from a corpse to get rid of hemorrhoids. ?

Mitch Eeeewwwwww🤮 6mo
35 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
NotCool
post image
Pickpick

This book did a good job of presenting historical figures like tabloid celebrities. I felt guilty reading the sordid and scandalous details of Caravaggio‘s life (he might have been a pimp!), or about the relationship between the king of France‘s wife and his mistress, then I sighed in relief and reminded myself, I was reading history...so I could learn. Not JUST for the gossip.

blurb
LittleMummyMe
post image

This sounds disgustingly wonderful...how can I resist?

A book that traces the use of poison as a political - and cosmetic - tool in the royal courts of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Kremlin today.

14 likes1 stack add
review
SassenachTheBookWizard
post image
Pickpick

So basically im gonna be paranoid now lol tons of interesting stories. I had never thought of doing modern autopsies and toxicology tests on centuries-old bones so thats prefty cool. I love that the "Modern Poisons" section was 95% Vladimir Putin being fucking crazy and 5% North Korea being crazy

RainyDayReading It‘s amazing the things they used to do to prevent themselves from being poisoned...while actually poisoning themselves 🙈 I really liked this one too when I read it. 7mo
SassenachTheBookWizard @RainyDayReading I lost it at the unicorn horn lol 7mo
wen4blu I'm listening to this audiobook in the car. Hopefully no one hears me shrieking "eeeewwwww" at some of the details. 7mo
knotmagick The ARC of this book has been sitting on my shelf for soooo long. I really need to read it! 7mo
97 likes9 stack adds4 comments
blurb
SassenachTheBookWizard
post image

Non fiction read of the month!

dgingo I checked that out a couple of months ago, and have renewed since then. I look forward to reading it! (We get to check books out for a month at a time—college library.) 7mo
75 likes6 stack adds1 comment
review
EKonrad
post image
Pickpick

A word of warning: The Royal Art of Poison is not for people with weak stomachs! Herman offers excruciatingly disgusting facts about the horrors of being poisoned. I especially loved the section that broke down several famous poisonings in history (including what scientists have to say now). I'd recommend this to someone who wants to learn some fun facts - and who doesn't mind descriptions of bodily functions and disease! #netgalley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Weaponxgirl Sounds like my kind of thing! 9mo
EKonrad @Weaponxgirl I definitely learned a lot! 🤢☠️ 9mo
39 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
Shazzer
Pickpick

Gross, interesting, informative in a murderous kind of way. Loved it

blurb
LeahBergen
post image

Yay! What a wonderful surprise in the mail!

Thank you SO much, @iread2much , for this gorgeous #JustABookSwap book! 😍😍😍 You chose perfectly for me and I‘m in love with this “Celtic Cats” card. I‘m surprised your Akitas “allowed” you to send a cat card (but you balanced it out nicely with the cute dog wrapping paper 😆). Thank you, my friend!

And thanks to @TheBookKeepers for organizing this fun swap! 😘😘

iread2much You are very welcome! I‘m so glad you got it and that you liked the card and the wrapping paper. 😄 I keep trying to find Akita cards, but cats are much more prevalent. (edited) 10mo
Melissa_J That book looks fun! 10mo
TheBookKeepers Aw I love it! 10mo
See All 7 Comments
Cathythoughts Fabulous cover ✨✨🖤 10mo
rubyslippersreads I covet that cat card, @iread2much 😻 10mo
iread2much @rubyslippersreads 🤗 I got it when visiting the Book of Kells at Trinity College...if you‘re in the area 10mo
Mdargusch I‘ve been watching Versailles and every other person is poisoned. I need to read this! 10mo
101 likes1 stack add7 comments
blurb
BeththeBookDragon
post image

The whole book is full of lovely little phrases like this one...

BookishMarginalia 😂😂😂 10mo
britt_brooke 😆 10mo
49 likes3 stack adds3 comments
blurb
JPeterson
post image

#24in48 Stats!

5 books finished (ebook & audio not pictured)
4 books started/progress made (*I‘m actually listening to Art of Asking, which includes music and singing 🎵)

@24in48

Librarybelle Great job! 10mo
Bookzombie Great job! 10mo
hes7 Nice! 🎉 10mo
81 likes3 comments
blurb
JPeterson
post image

#24in48: Hour 6 challenge - dedications

blurb
JPeterson
post image

Fuzzy “Sally” (Nightmare Before Christmas) socks: ✔️
First cup of coffee: ✔️
Last half of a fantastic book: ✔️

Let‘s get this party started 😉🤓
#24in48

LittleMummyMe I just bought this book. I love your mug. 7mo
73 likes1 comment
blurb
JPeterson
post image

Next up! 🖤☠️

Someone approves. Or, at least, isn‘t going to let me leave the couch anytime soon. 😼

4thhouseontheleft 😻😻😻 11mo
Bookzombie 💕🐱 11mo
75 likes2 comments
review
rabbitprincess
Pickpick

A delightfully disgusting and quite interesting read. I liked the general discussion of palace life and then the short biographies of specific people, complete with modern forensic analysis. May be of interest if you like books such as Fashion Victims, by Alison Matthews David; or The Arsenic Century, by James Whorton.

Crazeedi You keep posting books I'm going to have to read!😠💕 11mo
rabbitprincess @Crazeedi Oops! 😅 11mo
Crazeedi @rabbitprincess 👍😉❤️ 11mo
36 likes3 comments
review
Expandingbookshelf
post image
Pickpick

Do you ever wish you could travel back to the olden times? Well, if you read “The Royal Art of Poison” I promise you will be content to stay here in 2018 where we have medicine and know about germs. This is a gross and weirdly funny book that I loved reading, but probably shouldn‘t be read in public. Especially not with food and drinks 😵

review
PathfinderNicole
post image
Pickpick

Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars? I‘ve read her other books and loved them but felt this started out kind of slow. Glad I stuck with it though because once I got into the discussion of those who might have been murdered by poison throughout the centuries it picked up! I learned quite a bit!

blurb
JPeterson
post image

I‘m super excited for this book my friend gifted me this weekend. 🖤

LeahBergen I‘ve been wanting this one, too! 👍🏻 12mo
batsy Love that cover! 12mo
RainyDayReading I really enjoyed this one! I‘m amazed that some royals didn‘t die sooner than they actually did due to the amount of poisonous things they were ingesting/wearing. 🙄 12mo
See All 6 Comments
JPeterson @RainyDayReading I can‘t wait to start it! I‘m trying to wrap a few things up, so I can start 2019 on a new books, but it‘s so tempting! 12mo
JPeterson @batsy The cover is amazing! @LeahBergen 😊 12mo
RainyDayReading @JPeterson I hope you enjoy it! 12mo
65 likes1 stack add6 comments
review
Linsy
post image
Pickpick

Fascinating — and at times frightening — this is a micro-history you don‘t want to miss. (That is, if you like weird/gross/creepy/awesome stuff.) I flew through this info-packed book as soon as I started. My favorite chapters centered on one person or family and their story of possible poisoning. I no longer want to live back in time (palaces were nasty), but would love to meet Napoleon (he sounds hilarious!). #netgalley #bookreview #screamathon

Clare-Dragonfly I do like weird/gross/creepy/awesome stuff! Stacked! 14mo
Linsy @Clare-Dragonfly Yay! One of my people!! 🙌 14mo
98 likes5 stack adds2 comments
quote
Georgette73
post image

"Freshly washed sheets were highly dangerous, according to the good doctor, because of the lethal smell of soap."

saresmoore Kinda seems like a good way to go, though. “She died peacefully in her sleep...from inhaling toxic soap fumes.” 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage They must have had Axe even back then! 1y
Georgette73 @saresmoore At least it wasn't butt sweat! 1y
Linsy 🤣🤣🤣 I loved this part! 14mo
19 likes5 comments
blurb
Linsy
post image

Next up: The Royal Art of Poison ☠️
#poison #septemberdanes

JessFerg Should we be worried? 1y
SW-T It was a fun read. Well, for some of us 🤔😉🤔 1y
Linsy @JessFerg Lol, no! I have more of a scholar‘s interest. 😉 (edited) 1y
See All 7 Comments
JessFerg @Linsy It is pretty fascinating stuff. I learned more about prohibition-era American history from Poisoners Handbook than I was ever formally taught! Or maybe it was just a more interesting take on things... 1y
Linsy @JessFerg Me too! My husband and I stayed up late listening to that one. I can‘t wait for her new book!! (edited) 1y
Kalalalatja I love the cover on the left 😍😍 1y
JessFerg @Linsy Oh yay! I didn't know about it but now I'll count the days. Thanks! 1y
95 likes4 stack adds7 comments
blurb
Librarybelle
post image

I hope I can read this one before I have to return it to the library! #Poison #SeptemberDanes

Kalalalatja I‘m a bit surprised by how many books have “poison” in their titles 😄 1y
Librarybelle @Kalalalatja 😂 It‘s a little scary! 1y
Reviewsbylola This sounds good!! 1y
See All 7 Comments
Mdargusch Wow! Stacking! ☠️ 1y
Cinfhen Sounds good!! Hope u get to it before you need to return it! 1y
Linsy I have this on my netgalley TBR!! 1y
ferskner Filthy palaces! 1y
93 likes3 stack adds7 comments
blurb
RainyDayReading
post image

Yay work injuries. I was so excited to start shopping for the #witchplease swap that I overdid it a bit this morning. I‘m resting now with a (hopefully) good book. Fingers crossed the inflammation goes down soon.

bookandbedandtea I hope you're seeing improvement. Also that book looks so interesting! 1y
RainyDayReading @bookandbedandtea Thanks! It‘s slow going but I think I‘m getting better...I think haha. It‘s just maddening that I can‘t do as much as I used to. It was really good! Definitely made me glad I wasn‘t a royal during the Renaissance 🤣 or in France. 1y
25 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
SkullyAnne
post image
Pickpick

Nice popcorn history.

review
SW-T
Pickpick

It was dangerous to be royal. Fascinating account of poisons, poison tasters, and how pretty much anything could be dangerous: food, drink, clothing, etc.

blurb
Librarybelle
post image

One of the library staff I swap book titles with told me this was a great book. Poisoning from yesteryear up to today (!) in royal courts and government buildings. Definitely interesting...

thereadingowlvina I enjoyed this book! Grossly entertaining! 😂 1y
Mollyanna Sounds very intriguing. I look forward to your thoughts on it. 1y
Abailliekaras Intriguing! 1y
See All 8 Comments
Trashcanman Hello 1y
Librarybelle @Mollyanna @Abailliekaras Definitely sounds intriguing! 1y
Librarybelle @Trashcanman 👋👋👋 1y
Trashcanman 🙁 1y
102 likes8 stack adds8 comments
blurb
SW-T
post image

You wonder how many royals really died of natural causes.... 🤔

#history #royals #poison

Wan.der.love Not many 😱 1y
10 likes1 comment
blurb
lisakoby
post image

I did not know where a credenza got its name...

#nonfiction #nonfictionlove

12 likes2 stack adds
quote
StellarDoc
post image

I never knew this about Elizabeth I.

blurb
StellarDoc
post image

Relaxation means a Blue Moon latte and reading about poison on a thundering Thursday.

review
Redwritinghood
post image
Pickpick

I got this book via #netgalley in exchange for my review. This was a fun, more lighthearted look at the use of poisons for assassination through the ages. The author looks at a number of reputed poisonings throughout history in an effort to determine if they were actually more related to poor hygiene, disease, or dubious medical practices of the age. Written in an engaging style, this was an enjoyable read into a tantalizing subject. 4⭐️

LeahBergen This sounds great! *stacked* 1y
Crazeedi I just put this on my tbr list yesterday! Thanks for review! 1y
77 likes4 stack adds2 comments
blurb
StellarDoc
post image

Ooooh, look what was in my mailbox! #AmazonVine #VineVoice

14 likes1 stack add
review
balletbookworm
Mehso-so

I think, if you didn't know about medieval/renaissance medicine etc, then this book would be really entertaining. Herman has a flair for pop history. But for ME, while it was an enjoyable read I didn't get much new information of the book (epidemiology deg/history of medicine courses takes shine off). Most fascinating section: mini-bios of historical figures who were/were not poisoned and whether a modern forensics could make that determination

review
thereadingowlvina
post image
Pickpick

A nonfiction I enjoyed immensely:

✔ Grossly entertaining
✔ Well-researched & structured
✔ Good storytelling
✔ Witty prose
✔ Informative

❌ Can't read in few days. Lots of information which took me a month to read.

Rating: 4🌟

For more reviews please visit https://www.goodreads.com/thereadingowlvina

#nonfiction #NetGalley #royals #stmartinpress

Sophoclessweetheart Sounds wonderful! 2y
thereadingowlvina @Wanderingwithwords It was a good read but gross in a good way 😁 2y
32 likes2 comments
quote
balletbookworm
post image

This book has a section on human body parts consumed as medicine. 🙀🙀🙀🙀

God bless the advent of scientific inquiry and evidence-based medicine 😂😂😂 #amreading

BookishClaire 😮😮😮 2y
Ms.Story Oh my! 2y
shrewandsnail Have you read Get Well Soon by Jennifer Ashley Wright? It is similarly gruesome but fascinating and oddly.... sweet? It's great on audio. 2y
25 likes2 stack adds3 comments
blurb
thereadingowlvina
post image

2. Just found out this morning that it's skunk breeding season now that summer is almost here 😦 I'm really afraid of skunks!

3. Sadly no.

4. Refer to pic ⬆. Always find this one funny!

5. Will do! 💖💖💖

Thank you @jesshowbooks for #friyayintro! 🤗

Cinfhen Ha! 2y
GripLitGrl 😄😂😄 2y
Cortg Cute! 2y
32 likes3 comments