Booklist Reviews 2018 September #1
*Starred Review* Blood is feared and revered, and it is continually dying and renewing. Its power is mystical, emotional, and biological. Blood infuses our language: bloodthirsty, blood-chilling, blood brothers. George (Ninety Percent of Everything, 2013) delivers an informative, elegant, and provocative exploration of the life-giving substance she describes as stardust and the sea for its iron content derived from the demise of supernovas and its water and salt from the oceans of our origin. In the stellar opening chapter, she fuses her personal experience donating blood with remarkable hematologic facts. Approximately five liters of the fluid (depending on your sex and size), containing 30 trillion red-blood cells, clotting factors, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate, travel 12,000 miles throughout your body daily at a speed of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Other chapters consider medicinal leeches (bloodsuckers that secrete their own anticoagulant and anesthetic compounds), hemorrhage, HIV, the history of blood transfusion and blood banks, menstruation, the feminine-hygiene industry (a typical woman in an industrialized nation uses an estimated 11,000-16,000 sanitary products during her lifetime), and future possibilities of synthetic blood. George also writes about plasma, possible contamination of the supply, and profit, noting that blood is the thirteenth most traded product globally. George's wondrously well-written work makes for bloody good reading! Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 September #2
Be prepared to get angry. Not at this book or author George (The Big Necessity), who does an excellent job with the topic, but with the economic and social injustices surrounding blood; injustices that have a particularly high impact on women. Chapters on AIDS in South Africa and how it disproportionately affects young girls and menstruation taboos in Nepal are discouraging, but what is truly rage inducing is the evidence of how little research time and money goes to "women's issues" such as menstruation and PMS, especially in comparison to funds spent on erectile dysfunction. Other chapters focus on comparatively mild topics including blood donation and leeches. There are some disheartening statistics about how poor people are often exploited for their blood and how big pharma profits from freely given (or paid) donations. Regrettably, there is no call to action, though it does end on a hopeful note. VERDICT Recommended for nonexperts curious about their own bodies and blood as commodity in the world economy.—Cate Schneiderman, Emerson Coll., Boston
Copyright 2018 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2018 August #2
Journalist George (Ninety Percent of Everything) offers an insightful, fast-paced account of the science, politics, and social history of blood. By visiting places that include a donation center in India and a leech farm in Wales (which, after a 2007 terrorist attack in London, supplied hospitals with leeches used in reconstructive surgery), she explores the fragility of the international blood supply. She writes poignantly about blood-borne viruses, such as Ebola, HIV, and Zika, and about the difficulty of ensuring that donated blood is safe, as underscored by tainted blood scandals in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1970s and in Canada as recently as 2013. Taboos associated with blood are vividly reported in Nepal, where George interviews young women banned from their homes and forced to sleep in sheds while menstruating, and in India, where she tells the intriguing story of engineer and entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, whose development and successful marketing of a "low-cost mini sanitary napkin manufacturing machine" began with his wearing a goat-blood-filled fake uterus made from a football. Noting that "every three seconds, somewhere in the world, a person receives a stranger's blood," this wide-reaching, lively survey makes clear that blood has become a "commodity that is dearer than oil." (Oct.)
Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.