2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: Spare Parts: The Story of Medicine Through the History of Transplant Surgery by Paul Craddock

About the Book

How did an architect help pioneer blood transfusion in the 1660’s?
Why did eighteenth-century dentists buy the live teeth of poor children?
And what role did a sausage skin and an enamel bath play in making kidney transplants a reality?

We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world. But transplant surgery is as ancient as the pyramids, with a history more surprising than we might expect. Paul Craddock takes us on a journey – from sixteenth-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants – uncovering stories of operations performed by unexpected people in unexpected places. Bringing together philosophy, science and cultural history, Spare Parts explores how transplant surgery constantly tested the boundaries between human, animal, and machine, and continues to do so today.

Witty, entertaining, and illuminating, Spare Parts shows us that the history – and future – of transplant surgery is tied up with questions about not only who we are, but also what we are, and what we might become.

My review

This was a quirky, interesting, gruesome – mostly in a good way – read that I found fascinating! I had no idea the history of transplantation stretched so far back and that it was so widespread in practice throughout history and geography.

The writing is well done and the topics are interesting. It’s a difficult read in large doses, because a lot of the descriptions – particularly of the early processes -are pretty grisly. It’s not for the faint of heart but it is definitely worth checking out if you have an interest in the history of science and anatomy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

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