Friday, January 6, 2012
The Thread: Blood Work by Holly Tucker
In part, Blood Work is fascinating because Tucker's prose doesn't read like a stuffy historical narrative; instead, I am reminded of magical realists like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She doesn't shy away from writing grotesquely vivid descriptions of the transfusions and, accompanied by the illustrations of the experiment tables and tools used, Blood Work may not be for the faint of heart. There is much cruelty in scientific discovery.
But so far it is a fascinating exploration of a dark and somewhat obscure moment in the history of science, and one I hope you'll continue to read with me.
Blood Work was mesmerizing; Tucker made the 17th century come alive through her extensive research and her sparse, but elegant prose. Indeed, she was even able to correlate those early transfusions with the ongoing debates concerning hESC today. Imagine if, as Tucker posits, transfusionists had been allowed to continue their work even after the Denis debacle: how many more people might we have saved throughout history and, given the possibility of even greater benefits through hESC research, how many more could we save in the future?