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Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood (edition 2006)

by Bill Hayes

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1001120,775 (3.8)2
Member:mmaldony
Title:Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood
Authors:Bill Hayes
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
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Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood by Bill Hayes

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An interesting collection of essays which trace the science and cultural significance of human blood. At the same time, the author (a gay man in a long-term relationship with a lover infected with AIDS) talks about the way that the meaning of blood has changed for him and his partner. He goes into detail on research into development of a vaccine to prevent the contagion of the virus or a treatment that could kill the virus in those infected with it.
Well written and filled with details that fascinated me. ( )
  dickmanikowski | May 2, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345456874, Hardcover)

“We’re born in blood. Our family histories are contained in it, our bodies nourished by it daily. Five quarts run through each of us, along some sixty thousand miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries.”
–from Five Quarts

In the national bestseller Sleep Demons, Bill Hayes took us on a trailblazing trip through the night country of insomnia. Now he is our guide on a whirlwind journey through history, literature, mythology, and science by means of the great red river that runs five quarts strong through our bodies.

Profusely illustrated, the journey stretches from ancient Rome, where gladiators drank the blood of vanquished foes to gain strength and courage, to modern-day laboratories, where high-tech machines test blood for diseases and dedicated scientists search for elusive cures. Along the way, there will be world-changing triumphs: William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood; Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s advances in making the invisible world visible in the early days of the microscope; Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s Nobel-Prize-winning work in immunology; Dr. Jay Levy’s codiscovery of the virus that causes AIDS. Yet there will also be ignorance and tragedy: the widespread practice of bloodletting via incision and the use of leeches, which harmed more than it healed; the introduction of hemophilia into the genetic pool of nineteenth-century European royalty thanks to the dynastic ambitions of Queen Victoria; the alleged spread of contaminated blood through a phlebotomist’s negligence in modern-day California.

This is also a personal voyage, in which Hayes recounts the impact of the vital fluid in his daily life, from growing up in a household of five sisters and their monthly cycles, to coming out as a gay man during the explosive early days of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, to his enduring partnership with an HIV-positive man.

As much a biography of blood as it is a memoir of how this rich substance has shaped one man’s life, Five Quarts is by turns whimsical and provocative, informative and moving. It will get under your skin.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A personal and informative exploration of the history of human blood traces attitudes toward the vital substance, from ancient times, through a Victorian Europe decimated by hemophilia, to today's modern day high-tech laboratories. Writer Hayes is our guide on a whirlwind journey through history, literature, mythology, and science by means of the great red river that runs five quarts strong through our bodies. Along the way, there will be world-changing triumphs: William Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood; Dr. Paul Ehrlich's Nobel-Prize-winning work in immunology; Dr. Jay Levy's co-discovery of the virus that causes AIDS. This is also a personal voyage, in which Hayes recounts the impact of the vital fluid in his daily life, from growing up with five sisters and their monthly cycles, to coming out as a gay man during the explosive early days of the AIDS epidemic.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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