Napoleon's Buttons

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Penguin, May 24, 2004 - Science - 384 pages
9 Reviews
Napoleon's Buttons is the fascinating account of seventeen groups of molecules that have greatly influenced the course of history. These molecules provided the impetus for early exploration, and made possible the voyages of discovery that ensued. The molecules resulted in grand feats of engineering and spurred advances in medicine and law; they determined what we now eat, drink, and wear. A change as small as the position of an atom can lead to enormous alterations in the properties of a substance-which, in turn, can result in great historical shifts.

With lively prose and an eye for colorful and unusual details, Le Couteur and Burreson offer a novel way to understand the shaping of civilization and the workings of our contemporary world.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartyBriggs - LibraryThing

Chapters about the impact of various molecules on various facets of everyday life. Some really did change history. For more advanced students. Chapters are stand-alone. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GlennBell - LibraryThing

This is an interesting story that discusses the discovery and impact of chemicals in scientific advancement and changes in lifestyle. This is a unique book in that it discussed the importance of a number of chemicals in the history of mankind. I strongly recommend the book. Read full review

Contents

Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Introduction
PEPPERS NUTMEG AND CLOVES
ASCORBIC ACID
GLUCOSE
CELLULOSE
NITRO COMPOUNDS
SILK AND NYLON
PHENOL
THE PILL
MOLECULES OF WITCHCRAFT
MORPHINE NICOTINE AND CAFFEINE
OLEIC ACID
SALT
CHLOROCARBON COMPOUNDS
MOLECULES VERSUS MALARIA
EPILOGUE

ISOPRENE
DYES
WONDER DRUGS
Acknowledgements SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Jay Burreson, Ph.D., has worked as an industrial chemist and held a National Institutes of Health special fellowship for research on chemical compounds in marine life. He is also the general manager of a high-tech company.

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