Reviewed by Judy Kraus
This book, an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2008, traces the science of blood and transfusions from prehistoric mythology, to the Greek's four humors, through the early transfusions of the 1600s, to the bionic advances of the new millennium. Each chapter takes the reader on a journey through time and conceptual development.
Bleeding techniques were perfected over centuries before the first attempts at transfusions were contemplated. Beginning in the 1300s, the Renaissance swept Europe, leading to further understanding of the circulatory system and eventually an interest in the function of the human body. The first experiments with dogs led to inquiring questions like, “If blood from a timid dog is transfused into a fierce dog will the fierce dog become tamer?” Blood typing, germ theory, and sterilization techniques had not been perfected in the 1600s; blood transfusions between humans often ended in death. At last, answers were discovered by a series of scientists who identified blood type, plasma fractionation, and finally disease detection.
Throughout the book, archived prints and images, quality micrographs, and photographs are coordinated with the text. Technological developments (failures and successes) are chronicled along with stories of the visionary scientists who developed each procedure. The amazing historical account will shock and astound readers with its detailed descriptions---the perfect recipe to entice the middle or high school student. Circulating Life: Blood Transfusions from Ancient Superstition to Modern Medicine is a breathtaking read from cover to cover and can also serve as a reference for research. The glossary reinforces vocabulary used in context, from leukocytes to phlebotomist. Bibliographic information provides further sources for technical information, and additional research is encouraged with a list of books, articles, and websites that readers may easily access.
Review posted on 4/24/2007