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Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed…

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History (2003)

by Penny Le Couteur, Jay Burreson (Author)

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7731817,932 (3.83)23

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Fantastic overview from both a historical and scientific perspective ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Extremely good book whether or not you are schooled in chemistry or not. Formulas and equations that accompany the stories are made less complex and easier to understand by circling molecular groups and having side by side molecules with arrows pointing out differences. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in world history or science and especially for someone with an interest in chemistry. This book might well be required reading for anyone taking an organic chemistry course since it shows the relevance of things that in the classroom might otherwise seem pointless. ( )
  gdemange | Dec 8, 2014 |
For those with relatively little background in chemistry, Napoleon's Buttons seems like a good bet. Each chapter covers a specific molecule or group of molecules that follow a set theme (e.g. a chapter on morphine also discusses caffeine, as both of these molecules are "addictive"), and the authors do a good job of presenting the chemical structures, showing exactly how the components are oriented and the subtle differences that can cause drastic changes to its toxicity or addictiveness. It is a medium-weight read: not incredibly *hard* science, but not for the complete beginner.

While the chemistry knowledge appears to be sound, I confess to feeling doubtful about some facts presented in other areas, primarily because of a statement on page 79 of my edition that begins "Rabbits and some other rodents…"

Rabbits are NOT rodents. Rodents are part of the order Rodentia. Rabbits are part of a completely different order, Lagomorpha. This error might have jumped out at me more readily than it would to someone else (as you might expect from my username, I love rabbits), but it seems like something that should have been easy to check and correct.

If this error had not been present, I would have rated the book at least a 4. I was considering going down to 3 stars, but a last-minute burst of interesting facts in the final chapter granted it an extra half-star. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Dec 7, 2014 |
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.
  MartyBriggs | Jun 11, 2014 |
Amazing! It is how science has changed the world like ripples in a pond ( )
  jamesphilip | Oct 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Couteur, Penny LeAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burreson, JayAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
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In June 1812, Napoleon's army was 600,000 strong.
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Examines the roles that the molecular properties of such items as the birth control pill, caffeine, and the buttons on the uniforms of Napoleon's army have played in the course of history.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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