Here's the publisher's description of the book:
What ingredient in Coke can remove rust from chrome? What is the bitterest substance on earth? What is the worst smelling one? In this entertaining tour of chemistry, John Emsley answers these and many other questions as he illuminates the materials that make up our world. Dozens of lively articles explore such well-known molecules as water, oxygen, and glass; versatile plastics like polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane; even "elements from hell" such as Sarin (a lethal nerve gas). With no formulas, equations, or molecular diagrams to baffle the non-expert, each piece blends history, science, and anecdote, with many intriguing facts added to the mix.