Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood

Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood

by Rose George


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An eye-opening exploration of blood, the life giving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds and the promise of breakthrough science.

Blood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquitousness, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo: menstruation is perhaps the single most demonized biological event.

Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, is renowned for her intrepid work on topics that are invisible but vitally important. In Nine Pints, she takes us from ancient practices of bloodletting to the breakthrough of the "liquid biopsy," which promises to diagnose cancer and other diseases with a simple blood test. She introduces Janet Vaughan, who set up the world’s first system of mass blood donation during the Blitz, and Arunachalam Muruganantham, known as “Menstrual Man” for his work on sanitary pads for developing countries. She probes the lucrative business of plasma transfusions, in which the US is known as the “OPEC of plasma.” And she looks to the future, as researchers seek to bring synthetic blood to a hospital near you.

Spanning science and politics, stories and global epidemics, Nine Pints reveals our life's blood in an entirely new light.

Nine Pints was named one of Bill Gates' recommended summer reading titles for 2019.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250230683
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 208,862
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Rose George is the author of Nine Pints, The Big Necessity and Ninety Percent of Everything. A freelance journalist, she has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, and many other publications. She lives in Yorkshire.

Table of Contents


One: My Pint, 1

Two: That Most Singular and Valuable Reptile, 27

Three: Janet and Percy, 59

Four: Blood Borne, 99

Five: The Yellow Stuff, 133

Six: Rotting Pickles, 167

Seven: Nasty Cloths, 201

Eight: Code Red, 241

Nine: Blood Like Guinness: The Future, 263

Notes, 289

Further Reading, 332

Acknowledgments, 334

Index, 337

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Nine Pints: A Journey through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
cc27 More than 1 year ago
NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH! Nine Pints, written for the layman, is a fascinating history of blood harvesting and handling. Bloid is the thirteenth most highly traded commodity in the world, as a safe and accessible blood supply is necessary for the continued existence of humankind. Nine Pints covers the ancient practice of leeching, and the continued use of leeches in midern medicine. Who knew that medicinal leeches are now endangered in Great Britain and most of Europe? Modern medical leeches are farmed. A supply of leeches is sometimes kept in hospital pharmacies, but that practice is dwindling as modern surgical techniques advance. Researchers are continuing to study blood as they attempt to find cures or, at least treatments, for diseases carried by bloid borne pathogens. Protein prions, which cross the blood, brain barrier, are being studied with an eye toward developing vaccines, as these diseases are always fatal. I would recommend this title to anyone interested in medical science, particularly those interested in maintaining a safe blood supply, as well as those interested in genetic blood disorders or illnesses caused by blood borne pathogens. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free digital copy of this title to review from Net Galley . #NinePints#NetGalley
Tangen More than 1 year ago
cultural-exploration, historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, medical, war-is-hell I have been an RN since forever and have worked in an assortment of acute, rehab, and chronic care settings, so my views are not unbiased nor uninformed. Perhaps if I give one example from each chapter it might be useful to those who speak medicalese and those who don't. 1. The changing understanding of blood though millennia including the relatively recent divisions of typing, and the development of blood storage and accessibility. 2. The medical use of leeches from antiquity to the present well past the time of blades or scarification such as brought about the demise of former President Washington. 3. The incredible contributions of Dame Janet Maria Vaughan of the women's college at Oxford in the mid twentieth century. 4. The greatest cause of HIV/AIDS around the world is donating blood in Africa and Southeast Asia. 5. The treatment perils for hemophilia. I value the people mentioned, but am very unhappy that Arthur Ashe went unmentioned even though he came from the country whose pharmaceutical companies denied culpability in the deaths of so many unique people. 6. The practices of derision and blame placed upon women in many countries which also have almost no clean water or sanitary facilities simply because the women are having menstrual bleeding. 7. Beginning with the man who endured verbal abuse from nearly everyone while researching the manufacture and distribution of affordable sanitary napkins and tampons in India and developing nations where women could not afford them and were forced to use some methods from antiquity. 8. Trauma Medicine in civilian hospitals and in war areas and the changes in the use of blood and blood products. 9. The history of vampirism and the search for synthetic products as well as blood as a fountain of youth. There is an extensive bibliography following these chapters. I found it to be well written, educational, and enjoyable. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Metropolitan Books courtesy of NetGalley. Thank you!