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Go Big Read book ‘The Poison Squad’ offers food for thought

October 11, 2019

~ by Käri Knutson, University Communications

Would you like a little cinnamon with your brick dust? Wait. You didn’t know you were eating brick dust?

Such was the case before the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, banning adulterated or misbranded food and drugs. You can thank Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, a man you likely haven’t heard of. Neither had Deborah Blum until she wrote her book, “The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.”

“As a science writer who focuses on history quite a lot, one of the things I like best is finding those forgotten moments of history that influence how we got to where we are today,” Blum says. “That’s really important to me – finding people who have vanished from our national consciousness and learning what they did and how they contributed.”

Her book is the 2019-20 selection for Go Big Read, UW-Madison’s common reading program. Blum will discuss the book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Memorial Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. No tickets are required. Sign language interpreting and real-time CART captioning will be provided.

Read more here!

For more information, visit https://gobigread.wisc.edu.

You can listen to the book, thanks to Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Chapter a Day.” Jim Fleming reads from “The Poison Squad” at 12:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 25, or listen at wpr.org/gobigread through Nov. 22.