By: Madison Smartt Bell
214 pages, 8 illus
Antoine Lavoisier reinvented chemistry, overthrowing the long-established principles of alchemy and inventing a new terminology. Madison Smartt Bell's enthralling narrative reads like a race, as the circumstances that enabled Lavoisier to secure his reputation - a considerable fortune and social connections - also caused his glory to be cut short by the French Revolution.
Bell succeeds, not only in depicting the rigorousness of Lavoisier's method, but also in conveying a sense of his character, as revealed most affectingly by the quietly heroic composure with which he faced his own death. Los Angeles Times Book Review "A two-part thriller. The first describes Lavoisier's successful effort to win the race to explain how chemical processes work; the second, his pursuit by French revolutionaries." The New York Times Book Review"
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