10 de junio de 2014

Book Review: Poisons & poisoners in Italy



Alessandro Pastore. Veleno: Credenze, crimini, saperi nell'Italia moderna. Italy: Il Mulino, 2010. (paper), ISBN 978-88-15-13873-6.
Reviewed by Thomas Cohen Published on H-Italy (June, 2014) Commissioned by Monica Calabritto
Here we have a lively book with a deadly subject, treating of poisons and poisoners in Italy, with an occasional northward glance across the Alps. Its subject is wide: the substances themselves, the methods and practices of poisoners, the attempts by institutions to regulate their actions, the responses of the medical profession, and the effect, on Italy's reputation, of the peninsula's alleged and true predisposition to resort to poison. Accordingly, this is a history at once technical, social, legal, and cultural. The book is marked by wide reading and lively erudition. It is profoundly interesting but, for lack of shapely paragraphs and pointed chapters, harder to consult or paraphrase than a scholar might desire. The book is quicker to evoke and illustrate than to draw conclusions, and shies away from systematic overview.
Read the whole review on H-Net Reviews