Another Person’s Poison

A History of Food Allergy

Matthew Smith

Columbia University Press

Another Person’s Poison

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Pub Date: May 2015

ISBN: 9780231164849

312 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $29.95£24.95

Pub Date: May 2015

ISBN: 9780231539197

312 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $28.99£23.95

Another Person’s Poison

A History of Food Allergy

Matthew Smith

Columbia University Press

To some, food allergies seem like fabricated cries for attention. To others, they pose a dangerous health threat. Food allergies are bound up with so many personal and ideological concerns that it is difficult to determine what is medical and what is myth.

Another Person's Poison parses the political, economic, cultural, and genuine health factors of a phenomenon that dominates our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. 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, from asthma and eczema to migraines and hyperactivity, 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. Are rising allergy rates purely the result of effective lobbying and a booming industry built on self-diagnosis and expensive remedies? Or should physicians become more flexible in their approach to food allergies and more careful in their diagnoses? Exploring the issue from scientific, political, economic, social, and patient-centered perspectives, this book is the first to engage fully with the history of a major modern affliction, illuminating society's troubled relationship with food, disease, nature, and the creation of medical knowledge.
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
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

Read the introduction, "Witchcraft, a Fad, or a Racket":

History of STM Category

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.