The Stuff of Life

Book - 2013
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A scientific and social history of blood and the role it plays throughout society.
Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2013.
ISBN: 9781770893221
Characteristics: 372 p. --


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Aug 04, 2015

i never understood the effect of blood. Ignorant enough to think that its meer purpose was survival of the body. My mind is open and has been filled with the knowledge that blood..blood has the power to destroy civilization, to build an idea, to connect us all. There is nothing in this world that connects every human the way blood does. A white man bleeds just as a black man does. I understand now that blood is not just a thing but an idea.

Jun 26, 2014

a good science book . It isn't fiction .

ser_library May 08, 2014

an interesting quick read with personal history interspersed within the science and sociology. repetitive when read all at once.

ksoles Feb 01, 2014

It courses through the body of every human. It defines gender, ethnicity and family identity. In clichés, you can sweat it but you can't get it from a stone. Blood certainly offers fascinating possibilities for a book but, unfortunately, Lawrence Hill's "Blood: The Stuff of Life" becomes overwhelmed by these possibilities.

Attempting to demonstrate the prevalence of his subject, Hill only achieves a superficial and repetitive examination of it. His obviously copious research too often reads like a top ten list of blood-related facts that lack both analysis and substance. He certainly displays his passion about the double standards that bestow respectability on "blood sports" (hockey, boxing) and he spotlights important topics such as the misuse of blood in justifying racial discrimination. However, he constantly turns his moral conclusions into philosophical meditations, weakening his points.

The book's strength lies in its autobiographical threads, which bring it to a more human scale. The author humbly recounts his own struggle with diabetes and piercingly admits to growing up in the shadow of a famous sibling and father. But, though his perfunctory approach plays well orally on radio, it falters when used in an intellectual argument.

AnarchyintheLC Jan 06, 2014

This was a fantastic read. Hill looks at blood as a metaphor (purity vs contamination), and as a way of measuring belonging (racism, "us" versus "them") and takes lots of interesting pit-stops along the way. A mix of biology, medicine, politics and history.

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