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3.3 out of 5
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  • Eye-opener

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. Fascinating story of the 9 pints that we all carry around with us and don’t think about much until it is critical. The book is billed as “an eye-opening exploration of blood, the lifegiving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds, and the promise of breakthrough science.” The journey Rose George takes you on is scientific, political, historical, cultural and educational. So, let’s start with the pro’s of the book. I learned quite a few interesting things, such as different blood types types have different resistance to disease and how our blood supply and transfusions have involved. There were also some very disconcerting things that I learned, such as some countries where young men are enslaved and bled repeatedly, to the brink of death, and their blood is sold. This starting me thinking about donating blood, and I checked to see what prescriptions would prevent me from doing so. I learned that most prescriptions don’t matter, but if you are taking thalidomide, you are excluded. What?? I had no idea thalidomide was still in use. It was used in the 1950’s to prevent nausea in pregnant women, and caused horrible birth defects. My assumption was that it was never used again, but it is used to treat multiple myeloma brain cancer, kidney cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and leprosy. As for the con’s of the book, there were a few chapters that just didn’t seem to fit with the story: The chapter on leeches, I could have done without! Blood doesn’t make me squeamish, but leeches do. The history and use of leeches was interesting, but a lot of time spent on this aspect. The chapter on HIV in South Africa also just didn’t seem to fit into the narrative. It is a blood-borne disease, but George focused more on treatment of HIV. The chapter of the creation of sanitary pads for women went way off track. I would have liked to learn more about the moral oppositions to transfusions as well as today’s fad of using transfusions as a fountain of youth. Overall, this book was eye-opening and made me think, which is what a good book should do.

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  • Not a scientific read

    This book was written by a nonscientist, liberal, feminist. Where there was some While there was some interesring scientific information in this book, the majority of the book railed against men, the United States and religion. Two chapters were devoted to the topic of menses. I was looking for a scientific study about blood, rather I read a political and lopsided discussion on how men, money and religion are killing the poor and women.

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