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Another Person's Poison


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction: "Witchcraft, a fad, or a racket?" 1. Food Allergy Before Allergy 2. Anaphylaxis, Allergy, and the Food Factor in Disease 3. Strangest of All Maladies 4. Panic? Or the Pantry? 5. An Immunological Explosion? 6. The Problem with Peanuts Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

For most of the twentieth century, food allergies were considered a fad or junk science. While many physicians and clinicians argued that certain foods could cause a range of chronic problems, others believed that allergies were psychosomatic. This book traces the trajectory of this debate and its effect on public-health policy and the production, manufacture, and consumption of food. Exploring the issue from scientific, political, economic, social, and patient-centered perspectives, Another Person's Poison illuminates society's troubled relationship with food, disease, nature, and the creation of medical knowledge.

About the Author

Matthew Smith is a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde's Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare and was recently named a BBC New Generation Thinker. His previous books include Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD and An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet.


A thoughtful, well-sourced, and well-analyzed history of food allergies. This book is an important contribution to the history of medicine. It will stand as definitive for some time. -- Carla Keirns, Stony Brook University This excellent resource is strongly recommended for those interested in the history of health research, including undergraduates, graduates, and medical professionals. Library Journal While much remains to be discovered about food allergies, Smith capably introduces readers to the complex and confounding connection between what we eat and our bodies' adverse reactions. Booklist The story Mr. Smith tells is fundamentally fascinating... New York Times Well-rounded... It will broaden your knowledge and may lead you to consider allergy in new ways. New York Journal of Books An expansive tour... Smith's history is a finely detailed examination of the discipline. Allergic Living Magazine An absorbing treatise... This book is an excellent introduction to the popular topic of food allergies... Recommended. Choice Smith's book is a fascinating overview of the contested history and meanings of food allergy over the past century. Los Angeles Review of Books A focused, well-researched book... This insightful monograph should inspire a host of other scholars. -- Kendra Smith-Howard H-Sci-Med-Tech Smith deals lightly but competently with complex issues, using anecdotes and case studiesto provide an appealing narrative. Social History of Medicine An illuminating in-depth look at the tumultuous history of one of the more divisive members of the allergy family... rich, thoughtful, and accessible addition to the history of medicine. It is also a gripping work of social commentary, full of twists and suprises, which will undoubtedly stimulate further debate - on and off the dinner table. Food Culture Society An insightful, engaging, and very useful book on the history of food allergy... a welcome contribution to the growing literature on the history of food and nutrition in medicine and public health. Bulletin of the History of Medicine Another Person's Poison is extremely well written, easy to read yet scholarly, and extensively documented. Isis

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