- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (March 7, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0688176496
- ISBN-13: 978-0688176495
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce 1st Edition
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Don't faint! Blood may be a highly charged substance, symbolic of our spirit and essential for life, but we can gain much from reflecting on its power over us. Science journalist Douglas Starr has examined the history of blood's medical uses, and his report is at once intellectually engaging and emotionally compelling. Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce covers the late 17th century to the present, detailing experiments with animal blood (one violent madman was briefly calmed by infused calf's blood), the long ban on transfusions, direct artery-to-vein suture between donor and recipient, and today's global blood-banking industry. It's a great story that shows the long climb from great risk and heroism to relative safety.
Our greatest stumble during this climb--the AIDS crisis of the 1980s--is the meat of the book. How could it have happened? Why were so many people given contaminated blood products after clear warnings about the risks of infection? Starr is unafraid to name names and lay bare the political and financial decisions that condemned so many thousands of hemophiliacs and surgical patients to early deaths. Those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it; Starr aims to help us keep the blood off of our hands. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The codirector of Boston University's graduate program in science journalism shows how it's done in this exemplary study of the role that blood has played in human affairs. Although Starr begins the story centuries ago, he concentrates on modern times. Throughout his coverage, information about advances in biology and physiology is introduced as needed, often enabling the reader to share in the excitement of scientific discovery. But this book is about much more than just biology. The politics of blood play a central role, from our race with the Germans during the Second World War to develop a system to enable battlefield transfusions to the squabbling and animosity present among the various blood collection agencies in the U.S. As Starr makes clear, as the global traffic in blood and blood products has expanded into a multibillion-dollar operation, the financial bottom line has begun to outweigh the importance of medical benefits. In riveting fashion, Starr explains how business practices enabled the AIDS virus to permeate the world's blood supply, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths, particularly among hemophiliacs. Truly frightening are tales of the harvesting of blood and plasma from indigent and unhealthy third-world natives and the unwillingness of governments, third- and first-world alike, to take action to protect their citizens. Clear-eyed and wrought with superb attention to detail, this is first-class science writing, with a striking message. 16 pages of photos, not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The author composes a beautiful symphony of history which is very easy to read and very difficult to put down. This book has certainly changed the way I think about business and medicine.
All about the emotional and political implications of blood donation.
He completely leaves out the work of Rous and Turner, who first used glucose to expand the life of red blood cells--a necessity in blood banking. He also completely omitted WW I--amazing! That's when the very first blood depot was set up and stored blood was used for the first time.
I've found that he has embellished some personalities and downplayed others. He made it sound like no one was doing blood transfusions until Carrel's fateful night when he saved the baby, but in fact, they were being performed.
Anyway, this is a good book and I am surprised to find these glaring flaws in it. I found it useful as a background for my research, but I don't understand why he chose to write it this way.