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"How To Sell A Poison" By Elena Conis

The chemical compound DDT first earned fame during World War II by wiping out insects that caused disease, helping pave the way for an Allied victory. Americans embraced it as a wonder drug, spraying it on everything from crops and livestock to cupboards and curtains. Then, in 1972, it was banned in the US. But decades after that, a cry arose to demand its return.

In her latest book, How to Sell a Poison, historian Elena Conis follows DDT on its circuitous journey – from postwar farms, factories, and suburban enclaves to the floors of Congress and upscale social clubs, where industry barons met with advertising execs to sell the idea that a little poison in our food and bodies was nothing to worry about.

Elena Conis is an American writer and historian of medicine. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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