Paul Craddock's Spare Parts offers an original look at the history of medicine itself through the rich, compelling, and delightfully macabre story of transplant surgery from ancient times to the present day.
How did an architect help pioneer blood transfusion in the 1660's?
Why did eighteenth-century dentists buy the live teeth of poor children?
And what role did a sausage skin and an enamel bath play in making kidney transplants a reality?
We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world. But transplant surgery is as ancient as the pyramids, with a history more surprising than we might expect. Paul Craddock takes us on a journey - from sixteenth-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants - uncovering stories of operations performed by unexpected people in unexpected places. Bringing together philosophy, science and cultural history, Spare Parts explores how transplant surgery constantly tested the boundaries between human, animal, and machine, and continues to do so today.
Witty, entertaining, and illuminating, Spare Parts shows us that the history - and future - of transplant surgery is tied up with questions about not only who we are, but also what we are, and what we might become.
Historian and filmmaker Craddock debuts with an accessible and wide-ranging account of the development of skin, blood, tooth, and organ transplantation from 1550 to the modern day. Tracing the evolution of transplant surgery from rudimentary skin grafts to artificial hearts and stem cells, Craddock profiles practitioners including 17th-century French surgeon Jean-Baptiste Denis, who performed a "live blood transfusion" between two dogs at the foot of the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1667, and examines how mythology, including the Chinese tale of a "brave but stupid man" who receives a new heart from a judge of the underworld, influenced real-world views on transplantation. Amid the toe-curling descriptions of vivisected dogs and doomed trial runs at human-to-human tooth transplants are hopeful and inspiring accounts of how farmers and embroiderers shared their knowledge with medical practitioners and the roles played by sausage skins and spinach leaves in the development of skills and materials required for organ transplants. Thoroughly researched and appealingly digressive, this fascinating medical and cultural history sheds light on what it means to be human. Illus.