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A Photographic History of Snakebite TreatmentsCongratulations on your gold book award!


Bewilderment. Fear. Panic. Throughout the existence of humans, few events have conjured more dread and terror than the experience of a venomous snakebite. The earliest records of treatments were described in Hebrew Scriptures dating to the 14th–12th centuries BCE. The ancient Egyptians described remedies in the Brooklyn Papyrus of the 4th or 5th century BCE. From shamans and priests casting lengthy spells — calling upon the gods and other supernatural entities to intervene — to drinking fermented beverages along with plant and animal parts as an emetic, or cutting the bite area with sucking or bloodletting, these remedies often proved worse than the envenomation for the victim. Through a rich series of photographs and text, A Photographic History of Snakebite Treatments: Snake Oil, Potions, Elixirs and Kits, chronicles the history of snakebite treatments, from the approach we call “kill ‘em or cure ‘em” to the era of modern medicine involving antivenom. Beyond clinicians, healthcare providers and other professionals, this eclectic book by Ashley, Smith and Schuett should have wide appeal to anyone curious about snakebite treatments over the millennia.

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Author Bios

Bob Ashley is a herpetologist, serial entrepreneur, and museum director. He has a lifelong passion for reptiles and amphibians, beginning with a childhood fascination of the local turtles and snakes in his home state of Michigan. He’s turned that passion into a multi-faceted career with a theme of advocacy and education. Bob founded ECO Wear and Publishing nearly thirty years ago, a company that offers natural-world-themed apparel, art, and books. He’s published more than 40 books on reptiles and amphibian natural history. Bob is also co-founder of the North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Shows with partner Brian Potter and a former president and current Vice President of the International Herpetological Symposium. In 2009, he opened the Chiricahua Desert Museum in New Mexico as an educational exhibit of reptiles and amphibians associated with the Western Hemisphere and the deserts of the Southwestern United States and Mexico. He has served continuously as its director since its inception.

Dr. Charles F. Smith (Chuck) is an evolutionary biologist and herpetologist. His research interests center on the evolution of mating systems, especially in the links between spatial ecology, behavior, morphology, and physiology, and the fitness benefits and costs arising from each of these attributes at the population level. Chuck’s research combines field (e.g., radiotelemetry, GIS analysis) and laboratory (e.g., endocrinology, histological, molecular) approaches to address hypotheses about the spatial ecology and reproductive physiology of pit vipers. Dr. Smith is a Professor of Biology at Wofford College, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chiricahua Desert Museum. He is co-editor of multiple books, including Rattlesnakes of Arizona (two peer-reviewed volumes), Reptiles of the Trans Pecos Texas, and The Kauffeld Letters, and co-author of Rattlesnakes of the Grand Canyon.

Dr. Gordon W. Schuett is an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist. He has conducted extensive laboratory and field research on reptiles with a primary focus on venomous snakes. He also has a published body of work on lizards, turtles, and amphibians. His most significant contributions cover topics on mate competition and winner-loser effects, long-term sperm storage, mating systems, seasonal steroid hormone cycles of pit vipers, and facultative parthenogenesis in snakes. He is senior editor of the peer-reviewed books Biology of the Vipers and Rattlesnakes of Arizona (two volumes). Dr. Schuett is an Adjunct Professor of Biology at Georgia State University and Director of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chiricahua Desert Museum.

Learn more about the Nonfiction Book Awards here.

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