Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

4.2 18
by Holly Tucker
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0393070557

ISBN-13: 9780393070552

Pub. Date: 03/21/2011

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

On a cold day in December 1667 the renegade physician Jean Denis transfused ten ounces of calf's blood into Antoine Mauroy, a madman. Several days and several transfusions later, Mauroy was dead and Denis was framed for murder. A riveting and wide-reaching history, Blood Work shows how blood transfusion became swept up in personal vendettas, international

Overview

On a cold day in December 1667 the renegade physician Jean Denis transfused ten ounces of calf's blood into Antoine Mauroy, a madman. Several days and several transfusions later, Mauroy was dead and Denis was framed for murder. A riveting and wide-reaching history, Blood Work shows how blood transfusion became swept up in personal vendettas, international intrigues, and the war between science and superstition. In a foreshadowing of today's stem cell and cloning debates, proponents saw transfusion as a long-awaited cure to deadly illnesses, while others worried that science was toying with forces of nature, perhaps even paving the way for monstrous hybrid creatures. Taking us from the highest ranks of society to the lowest, Holly Tucker introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters, all ruthless contenders in the battle over transfusion. Finally, in a feat of historical research, she reveals the true identities of Mauroy's murderers—and their motivations to kill.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393070552
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
03/21/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Note on Translations xi

Dramatis Personae xiii

Prologue xvii

Chapter 1 The Doctor and the Madman 1

Chapter 2 Circulation 14

Chapter 3 The Age of Vivisection 28

Chapter 4 Plague and Fire 37

Chapter 5 Philosophical Transactions 58

Chapter 6 Noble Ambitions 77

Chapter 7 "How High Will he Not Climb?" 87

Chapter 8 The King's Library 102

Chapter 9 The Philosopher's Stone 114

Chapter 10 The Blood of a Beast 127

Chapter 11 The Tower of London 136

Chapter 12 Bedlam 155

Chapter 13 Monsters and Marvels 474

Chapter 14 The Widow 184

Chapter 15 The Affair of the Poisons 193

Chapter 16 Chimeras 211

Epilogue 227

Blood Transfusion: A Chronology 233

Acknowledgments 235

Notes 241

Bibliography 265

Illustration Credits 291

Index 293

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 18 reviews.
ahack25 More than 1 year ago
Blood Work is a non-fictional account of the first blood transfusions which took place in England and France during Scientific Revolution in the 1600s. If you've ever read any historical fiction or non-fiction from this period and onwards through the 1800s, you'll notice odd medical practices like blood-letting for illnesses. Leeches, draining, and more were done to bring the body back into balance through the humors. If you've never heard of this practice, I think it's mentioned in at least one of Jane Austen's novels. Holly Tucker also notes that George Washington had this practice done. Wow. Never knew that. When blood transfusions were first thought up and carried out by the curious and educated, I find it odd that they didn't see it as a way to make up for lost blood, but as another way of treating an illness of the body or mind. I loved how these men pursued the quest for knowledge and how England and France kind were in kind of a scientific war over this. Quiet fascinating and at times very disgusting. I have to admit that I felt so sorry for all the animals that were worked on during their practices. But they eventually moved on to humans and this is where most of the drama unfolds. Blood transfusion became a religious, moral, and national problem. Transferring blood between human and animal or even human and human might possible interfere with a person's soul and even worse turn someone into a hybrid with animal and human characteristics! Or so they believed. History books like these are the type I adore. It's well research and jammed packed with all sorts of interesting characters and aspects of life during this period. We get a glimpse into the court life of the Sun King, Louis XIV, as his Academy of Sciences opposes blood transfusion. We get a vibrant look at people like Jean-Baptiste Denis who try to make a name for himself by becoming successful at blood transfusion almost at all cost. Henry Oldenburg, a German-born philosopher working in England who is imprisoned because he is a foreigner and therefore suspicious. And one of my favorites, Henri-Martin de la Martinière, who ran away from home as a young boy, became a pirate then physician. I'd love to read more about him. As for the murder...well you'll just have to read the book for that one. As a side note: I was reading this the other day when I had a doctor's appointment. As I was getting some blood taken, the nurse noticed the book title and asked what it was about. When I told her she looked a little shocked and then asked why I was reading it. That actually made me think. While I totally enjoyed it, it does seem like an odd book to just pick up. Then I read Holly's epilogue and I came to understand what it was. She wrote, "early animal-to-human transfusions were a case study for larger political struggles, religious controversies, and cutthroat ambitions during the late seventeenth century." And it doesn't stop there. She wrote that she became aware that she needed to write this book when she heard President Bush's speech in 2006 wanting to prohibit animal-human embryonic stem cell research. Wow. Is history trying to repeat itself? And that's why I was reading it and enjoying it. It's a fascinating historical tale that provides a new outlook on modern controversies. Thanks Holly!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In "Blood Work" the early days of blood transfusions in France and England are described. We are told of experiments involving animal and human transfusions and also of the politics behind it all. It does not seem like reading a history book at all. The facts, information, and experiences are presented in such a way that you feel like you are hearing an interesting conversation. This was a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. I enjoyed every fact-filled and well-researched paragraph.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Troy Petrie More than 1 year ago
Would have been better with more detail. Publishers probably had her cut a bunch out. Excellent sources and references throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*