Hands on Bay Area Book Club

Hands on Bay Area Book Club

Hands on Bay Area leads more than 100 volunteer projects every month, benefiting more than 300 local, nonprofit agencies. The Hands On Bay Area Book Club discusses today's most engaging books on social issues and what role individuals can play to make a difference in their own communities.

The Book Club is open to the public and meets monthly at Books Inc in Mountain View, 301 Castro Street, 650-428-1234. Please register on the Hands On Bay Area website www.handsonbayarea.org or email ambrosia@handsonbayarea.org for more information.

ISBN: 9780312610630
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 27th, 2011

September 2014 Selection:
In this groundbreaking new account
of their marriage, Rowley describes the remarkable courage and lack of
convention--private and public--that kept Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

ISBN: 9780142180303
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Published: Plume Books - August 27th, 2013

August 2014 Selection: Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books "A modern voyage of discovery." --Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of "The Lightness of Being "
The Higgs boson is one of our era's most fascinating scientific
frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent
book on the subject, "The God Particle," was a bestseller. Now, Caltech
physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening--after
billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the
Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland--into the mind-boggling world of
dark matter. "The Particle at the End of the Universe" has it all: money
and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge
physics--all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.

ISBN: 9780345534538
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Published: Ballantine Books - April 22nd, 2014

July 2014 Selection: When Pulitzer Prize"-"winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a
grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled
through a surprising portal into American history. "Empty Mansions" is a
rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of
the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300
million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette
Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104,
no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned
palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she
lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in
excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in
control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?
Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark's cousin, Paul Clark Newell,
Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her.
Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented
daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who
secrets herself away from the outside world. Huguette was the
daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich
as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder,
and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York
City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She
owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius
violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than
treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and
strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to
guarding the privacy she valued above all else. The Clark family
story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a
log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from
backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant
Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror
attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class
stateroom on the second voyage of the "Titanic."

ISBN: 9780316322409
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Published: Little Brown and Company - October 8th, 2013

June 2014 Selection: When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in
Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced
and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012,
when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot
in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school,
and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery
has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in
northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At
sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the
youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the
remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight
for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner,
championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and
of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society
that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one
person's voice to inspire change in the world.

ISBN: 9780143118749
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Published: Penguin Books - February 22nd, 2011

May 2014 Selection: "If ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it." -"The Washington Post"
In the dramatic story of one of the greatest acts of corporate
espionage ever committed, Sarah Rose recounts the fascinating, unlikely
circumstances surrounding a turning point in economic history. By the
middle of the nineteenth century, the British East India Company faced
the loss of its monopoly on the fantastically lucrative tea trade with
China, forcing it to make the drastic decision of sending Scottish
botanist Robert Fortune to steal the crop from deep within China and
bring it back to British plantations in India. Fortune's danger-filled
odyssey, magnificently recounted here, reads like adventure fiction,
revealing a long-forgotten chapter of the past and the wondrous origins
of a seemingly ordinary beverage.

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ISBN: 9780195311990
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - November 2006

April 2014 Selection: Hailed as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of Silicon Valley, Robert
Noyce was a brilliant inventor, a leading entrepreneur, and a daring
risk taker who piloted his own jets and skied mountains accessible only
by helicopter. Now, in The Man Behind the Microchip, Leslie Berlin
captures not only this colorful individual but also the vibrant
interplay of technology, business, money, politics, and culture that
defines Silicon Valley. Here is the life of a high-tech industry
giant. The co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, Noyce
co-invented the integrated circuit, the electronic heart of every modern
computer, automobile, cellular telephone, advanced weapon, and video
game. With access to never-before-seen documents, Berlin paints a
fascinating portrait of Noyce: an ambitious and intensely competitive
multimillionaire who exuded a "just folks" sort of charm, a Midwestern
preacher's son who rejected organized religion but would counsel his
employees to "go off and do something wonderful," a man who never looked
back and sometimes paid a price for it. In addition, this vivid
narrative sheds light on Noyce's friends and associates, including some
of the best-known managers, venture capitalists, and creative minds in
Silicon Valley. Berlin draws upon interviews with dozens of key players
in modern American business--including Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, Gordon
Moore, and Warren Buffett; their recollections of Noyce give readers a
privileged, first-hand look inside the dynamic world of high-tech
entrepreneurship. A modern American success story, The Man Behind
the Microchip illuminates the triumphs and setbacks of one of the most
important inventors and entrepreneurs of our time.

ISBN: 9780307452061
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Published: Broadway Books - June 25th, 2013

March 2014 Selection: The French, "sans doute," " "love their "fromages." And there's much to
love: hundreds of gloriously pungent varieties--crumbly, creamy,
buttery, even shot through with bottle-green mold. So many varieties, in
fact, that the aspiring gourmand may wonder: How does one make sense of
it all? In "The Whole Fromage," Kathe Lison sets out to learn what
makes French cheese so remarkable--why France is the "Cheese Mother
Ship," in the words of one American expert. Her journey takes her to
cheese caves tucked within the craggy volcanic rock of Auvergne, to a
centuries-old monastery in the French Alps, and to the farmlands that
keep cheesemaking traditions alive." "She meets the dairy scientists,
shepherds, and "affineurs" who make up the world of modern French
cheese, and whose lifestyles and philosophies are as varied and
flavorful as the delicacies they produce. Most delicious of all, she
meets the cheeses themselves--from spruce-wrapped Mont d'Or, so gooey
it's best eaten with a spoon; to luminous Beaufort, redolent of Alpine
grasses and wildflowers, a single round of which can weigh as much as a
Saint Bernard; to Camembert, invented in Normandy but beloved and
imitated across the world. With writing as piquant and rich as a
well-aged Roquefort, as charming as a tender springtime "chevre," and
yet as unsentimental as a stinky Maroilles, "The Whole Fromage" is a
tasty exploration of one of the great culinary treasures of France.

ISBN: 9780307352156
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Published: Broadway Books - January 29th, 2013

February 2014 Selection: The book that started the Quiet Revolution At
least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones
who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike
self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It
is to introverts--Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak--that we
owe many of the great contributions to society. In "Quiet, "Susan
Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how
much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal
throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to
permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful
introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in
solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps
into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched,
and filled with indelible stories of real people, "Quiet "has the power
to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how
they see themselves. Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

ISBN: 9780307887832
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Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - August 7th, 2012

January 2014 Selection: "Law Man" is an improbable-but-true memoir of redemption -- the story of
a young bank robber who became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in
American history, and who changed not just his own life, but the lives
of everyone around him. Shon Hopwood was a good kid from a good
Nebraskan family, a small-town basketball star whose parents had started
a local church. Few who knew him as a friendly teen would have imagined
that, shortly after returning home from the Navy, he'd be adrift with
few prospects and plotting to rob a bank. But rob he did, committing
five heists before being apprehended. Only twenty three and
potentially facing twelve years in Illinois' Pekin Federal Prison, Shon
feared his life was already over. He'd shamed himself and his loving
family and friends, and a part of him wanted to die. He wasn't sure at
first if he'd survive the prison gangs, but slowly glimmers of hope
appeared. He earned some respect on the prison basketball court,
received a steady flow of letters from hometown well wishers, including a
note from a special girl whom he'd thought too beautiful to ever pay
him notice - and, most crucially, he secured a job in the prison law
library. It was an assignment that would prove his salvation. Poring
over the library's thick legal volumes, Shon discovered that he had a
knack for the law, and he soon became the go-to guy for inmates seeking
help. Then came a request to write a complex petition to the Supreme
Court - a high-wire act of jailhouse lawyering that had never before met
with success. By the time Shon walked out of Pekin Prison he'd
pulled off a series of legal miracles, earned the undying gratitude of
numerous inmates, won the woman of his dreams, and built a new life for
himself far greater than anything he could have imagined. A story
that mixes moments of high-adrenaline with others of deep poignancy,
"Law Man" is a powerful reminder that even the worst mistakes can be
redeemed through faith, hard work and the love and support of others.

ISBN: 9780547247786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - December 2009

October 2013 Selection: An award-winning biologist takes us on the dramatic expeditions that unearthed the history of life on our planet. Just
150 years ago, most of our world was an unexplored wilderness. Our
sense of its age was vague and vastly off the mark, and much of the
knowledge of our own species' history was a set of fantastic myths and
fairy tales. In the tradition of "The Microbe Hunters "and" Gods,"
"Graves," "and""Scholars," Sean Carroll leads a rousing voyage that
recounts the most important discoveries in two centuries of natural
history: from Darwin's trip around the world to Charles Walcott's
discovery of pre-Cambrian life in the Grand Canyon; from Louis and Mary
Leakey's investigation of our deepest past in East Africa to the
trailblazers in modern laboratories who have located a time clock in our

ISBN: 9780767916035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - September 12th, 2006

August 2013 Selection: David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of
excess. Whether he is contrasting the elegance of one of the last
flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good-times-and-chicken-wings
populism of Hooters Air; working as a cabana boy at a South Beach
hotel; or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch
a soft-core video shoot--where he is provided with his very own
personal manservant--rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and
vapidity been so mercilessly skewered. Somewhere along the line, our
healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism; our manic
getting and spending have now become celebrated as moral virtues.
Simultaneously a Wildean satire and a plea for a little human decency, "
Don't Get Too Comfortable" shows that far from being bobos in paradise,
we're in a special circle of gilded-age hell.

ISBN: 9780307476074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2013

July 2013 Selection: A Best Nonfiction Book of 2012: "The Boston Globe," "Entertainment Weekly"A Best Book of the Year: NPR, "St. Louis Dispatch, Vogue" At
twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake
of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was
soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made
the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training,
driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of
the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and
Oregon to Washington State--and she would do it alone. Told with
suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, "Wild" powerfully
captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead
against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and
ultimately healed her.

ISBN: 9780452297982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - April 24th, 2012

June 2013 Selection: What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu? In
1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and
"discovered" Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain
who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great
archeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer's
perilous path in search of the truth--except he'd written about
adventure far more than he'd actually lived it. In fact, he'd never even
slept in a tent."Turn Right at Machu Picchu" is Adams'
fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world's
most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a
hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: Just what
"was" Machu Picchu?

ISBN: 9780802779144
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walker & Company - September 13th, 2011

May 2013 Selection: Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and
traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises
of learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of
living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her
struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted
home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its
people, and its culture's conundrums. As her skill with Mandarin
increased, bits of the language - a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar
- became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol,
relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China.Fallows
learned, for example, that the abrupt, blunt way of speaking which
Chinese people sometimes use isn't rudeness, but is, in fact a way to
acknowledge and honor the closeness between two friends. She learned
that English speakers' trouble with hearing or saying tones-the
variations in inflection that can change a word's meaning-is matched by
Chinese speakers' inability "not" to hear tones, or to even take a guess
at understanding what might have been meant when foreigners misuse
them."Dreaming in Chinese" is the story of what Deborah Fallows
discovered about the Chinese language, and how that helped her make
sense of what had at first seemed like the chaos and contradiction of
everyday life in China.

ISBN: 9780807044780
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Published: Beacon Press (MA) - January 22nd, 2013

April 2013 Selection: How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become "white
trash"? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social
reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the
humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our
society to look like." ""White Bread" teaches us that when
Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with
larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As
Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to
the latest gourmet "pain au levain, " he shows how efforts to champion
"good food" reflect dreams of a better society--even as they reinforce
stark social hierarchies. In the early twentieth century, the
factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the
hot, dusty, "dirty" bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins,
this bread was considered the original "superfood" and even marketed as
patriotic--while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all
that was wrong with America. The history of America's
one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a
lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the
alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and
environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about
as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs
of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting
people to eat a certain food could restore the nation's decaying
physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar.
Given that open disdain for "unhealthy" eaters and discrimination on the
basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, "White Bread" is a
timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk
about food. "From the Hardcover edition."

ISBN: 9781451652093
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Published: Touchstone Books - January 8th, 2013

February 2013 Selection: Tania Head's astonishing account of her experience on
September 11, 2001, was a tale of loss and recovery, of courage and
sorrow, of horror and inspiration. It transformed her into one of the
great victims and heroes of that tragic day. But there was something
very wrong with Tania's story--a terrible secret that would break the
hearts and challenge the faith of all those she claimed to champion. Told
with the unique insider perspective of Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., a
filmmaker shooting a documentary on the efforts of the Survivors'
Network, and previously one of Tania's closest friends, "The Woman Who
Wasn't There "is the story of one of the most audacious and bewildering
quests for acclaim in recent memory--one that poses fascinating
questions about the essence of morality and the human need for
connection at any cost.

ISBN: 9780316051637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - June 6th, 2011

January 2013 Selection:The periodic table is a crowning scientific
achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and
obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as
they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the
(frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

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ISBN: 9781416540199
Availability: Special Order
Published: Atria Books - June 5th, 2007

October 2012 Selection: A memoir of war-torn Iraq like no
other, this poignant book takes readers through an odyssey stranger than
fiction--the true story of an Iraqi-born American forced to fight for
Saddam and then for his freedom from American forces as a POW.

ISBN: 9780679752929
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Published: Vintage - April 25th, 1995

September 2012 Selection: Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson
City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American
life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a
crisis that had once seemed an "urban problem" had arrived in the town
to stay. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young
Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became
by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number
of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and
even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to
Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who
could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a
writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this
conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency. Out
of his experience comes a startling but ultimately uplifting portrait
of the American heartland as it confronts--and surmounts--its deepest
prejudices and fears.

ISBN: 9780307279187
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Published: Vintage Books - March 29th, 2011

August 2012 Pick: An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America's best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall's incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

ISBN: 9781592406975
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Published: Gotham Books - March 6th, 2012

July 2012 Pick: Grant Achatz, shares how his drive to cook immaculate food fueled his miraculous triumph over tongue cancer. By
2007 chef Grant Achatz had been named one of the best new chefs in
America by Food & Wine, he had received the James Beard Foundation
Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, and he and Nick Kokonas had opened
the conceptually radical restaurant Alinea, which was named Best
Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine. Then, positioned firmly in
the world's culinary spotlight, Achatz was diagnosed with stage IV
squamous cell carcinoma-tongue cancer.The prognosis grim, Grant
undertook an alternative treatment of aggressive chemotherapy and
radiation that ravaged his body and left him without a sense of taste.
Tapping into his profound discipline and passion, he trained his chefs
to mimic his palate and learned how to cook with his other senses. As
Kokonas was able to attest, the food was never better. Five months
later, Grant was declared cancer-free and went on to achieve some of the
highest honors in the culinary world. "Life, on the Line" is not only a
chef's memoir, it is also a book about survival, about nurturing
creativity, and about profound friendship.

ISBN: 9780143119463
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Published: Penguin Books - May 31st, 2011

June 2012 Pick: Publisher Marketing:
"A necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why." -Sam Sifton, "The New York Times Book Review."
Writer and life-long fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. "Four Fish" offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.

ISBN: 9780385531108
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Published: Spiegel & Grau - January 24th, 2012

May 2012 Pick: In 2005, astronomer Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a 10th planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown's find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye.

ISBN: 9780767919371
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Published: Broadway Books - September 25th, 2007

April 2012 Pick: From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language comes a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century.

ISBN: 9780143118824
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Published: Penguin Books - January 25th, 2011

February 2012 Pick: A beguiling concoction--equal parts true crime, 20th-century history, and science thriller--"The Poisoner's Handbook" is a fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison, and murder, and the birth of forensic medicine.