One of my classmates from graduate school recommended this book on the class forum.
Two chemists wrote another view of history: certain objects have shaped world events, and this is the first record of how it happened.
For example, they used Napoleon’s loss in Russia. Besides the rough winter, the Russians burning all the crops, and a lack of supplies reaching the French troops, the authors believed that tin and quinine also caused the downfall of Napoleon on the Russian front.
First of all, tin, which was used in the uniforms as buttons. Tin crumbles when the temperatures drop. The soldiers couldn’t button their coats, and the cold penetrated them.
Quinine, which fights malaria, was not available to the troops either. That portion of Russia has swamps, as do other cold places. Swamps don’t exist just in the Deep South and other tropical areas. So, possibly, malaria helped to wipe out the troops.
This book also examines the chemistry of the elements or compounds. If you don’t like reading about organic chemistry, you can skip this portion of the chapters.
However, you might miss some interesting facts. Caffeine (which I am addicted to in the form of coffee) and tea and cocoa (in chocolate) differ only by one CH3 group!
Check here for the table of contents. Other events that are covered include, the Salem Witch Hunts, the start of industrial dyeing, WWII events,development of anesthesia, contraception, and other topics. I look at some of the dates and can’t believe that if I had lived just less than 100 years ago, a lot of diseases could have done me in!