IMSS Book Club: Reading Between the Spines
Are you interested in diving deeper into the themes explored through our collections and exhibitions? Do you love reading? Then you’re in luck, IMSS has its very own book club!
Our next meeting will be Wednesday April 17th, 2019. The Museum will be open from 5:30-7:30, but you can drop-in anytime during those hours.
At each meeting there will be a round table style book discussion, refreshments and an opportunity to either explore objects from our collections or get hands-on with interactive activities that are thematically relevant to the text.
This program is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 5:30 and the book discussion will begin around 6pm.
This time we’re reading The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul by Eleanor Herman.
About the Book:
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 calls herself a “Sherlock Holmes of history.” To research her books, she has studied and visited most of the major sites of the ancient world, usually with an archeologist in tow.
Major press have lauded Eleanor’s non-fiction histories as highly entertaining. The New York Times Book Review wrote that Eleanor writes “enlightening social history that is great fun to read.”
Eleanor has hosted shows for The History Channel and the National Geographic Channel on Henry VIII, the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, and the Hindenburg. She is an expert commentator on numerous episodes of a national show coming out this fall.
Eleanor lives with her husband, their black lab, and her four very dignified cats in McLean, VA. She is a member of the National Press Club, where she often moderates book events, a queen mother of Cameroon, an elections officer, and a volunteer for the aging in Fairfax County, VA.
Purchase The Royal Art of Poison from your favorite book store or online retailer. For this book we recommend heading to Volumes Book Cafe! https://www.volumesbooks.com/search/site/the%20royal%20art%20of%20poison
Check it out from the Chicago Public Library https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1980885126