It took me a while to get through this since there is a lot of information. Not all of it can be retained in the long term (at least by me) but were fascinating while I was reading them. A background in chemistry may not be strictly required but might help elevate the understanding of the depth of the discoveries, the fallback from them all are things even the layperson can absorb (no pun intended)
Surprisingly, the book begins at the potato famine (I just read about the potato last month). It focuses on one issue and the subsequent chemical solution that was proposed. What this chemical solution then led to is then elaborated upon. The writing is simple and does not sound too technical( it does go into the chemical names and families). The division by disease makes it simpler to set it aside and pick it up without losing out on the narrative thread.
It covers a significant portion of the chemical advancement and the deployment of those solutions through the last century or so.
The author’s personal information towards the end further enhances the effect.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers; the review is entirely based on my own reading experience