The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul (Hardcover)

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Description


"You'll be as appalled at times as you are entertained." --Bustle, one of The 17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018

"A heady mix of erudite history and delicious gossip." --Aja Raden, author of Stoned

In the Washington Post roundup, "What your favorite authors are reading this summer," A.J. Finn says, "I want to read The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman's history of poisons."

Hugely entertaining, a work of pop history 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

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 popular 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. Herman, who happily dresses in Renaissance gowns, lives with her husband, their black lab, and her four very dignified cats in McLean, VA.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781250140869
ISBN-10: 1250140862
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: June 12th, 2018
Pages: 304
Language: English

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