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The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Written by Deborah Blum

Read by Kristen Potter, with the recording produced by Penguin Audio

Reviewed by Ryan Paul Winn

Celebrated as “the Father of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley documented the effects preservatives had on the Gilded Age’s food supply. Deborah Blum recounts how the Department of Agriculture’s chief chemist battled to gain Americans better control over food safety. Reader Kristen Potter lends levity to scientific material and anecdotal asides, acquainting modern dietary purists with their unflappable patron saint.

Ryan Paul Winn is a columnist and media critic who’s rarely without an audiobook or his earbuds. When not writing or teaching in the Liberal Studies department at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin, he can be found researching overlooked history in local and national archives.