Caroline Herbert's Reviews > Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

Blood Work by Holly Tucker
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Aug 20, 2011

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Read from January 13 to 19, 2012

Much more interesting than I would have guessed, this book explores early experiments in blood transfusion during the late 17th century. It's much more than that, however, because we learn quite a bit about medical theories through the ages and medical treatment during that time, plus it's also a story of an ambitious French doctor and his desire to be the first to successfully complete a human-to-human blood transfusion. The author is extremely talented--at times this reads like a suspense thriller, and I had trouble putting it down! Most fascinating was her last chapter, in which she draws parallels between the fears surrounding transfusion in the 1600s and our modern-day fears of cloning and stem-cell research. What we suspect today could be commonplace in 400 years, just like blood transfusion is today. Warning: Not for the faint of heart--if you don't like the sight of blood you probably won't like reading about it, either. Also a difficult read for animal lovers with its graphic descriptions of early experiments on animals.
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