Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood

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9780345456885: Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood
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“This beguiling brew of fascinating scientific facts and illuminating, poignant anecdotes makes Five Quarts something like blood itself: vital and pulsing with energy.”
–Entertainment Weekly

From ancient Rome, where gladiators drank the blood of vanquished foes to gain strength and courage, to modern-day laboratories, where machines test blood for diseases and scientists search for elusive cures, Bill Hayes takes us on a whirlwind journey through history, literature, mythology, and science by way of the great red river that runs five quarts strong through our bodies. Hayes also 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 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.

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From the Inside Flap:

"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 andtheir 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.

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author:

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, Bill Hayes is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of four books: Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir, Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood, The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy, and Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me (coming February 2017), and is currently at work on a new book Sweat: A History of Exercise.
 
A photographer as well as a writer, his photos have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, and on CBS Evening News.  His portraits of his partner, the late Oliver Sacks, appear in the recent collection of Dr. Sacks’s suite of final essays Gratitude.
 
Hayes has been a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome, the recipient of a Leon Levy Foundation grant, and a Resident Writer at Blue Mountain Center. He has also served as a guest lecturer at Stanford, NYU, UCSF, University of Virginia, and the New York Academy of Medicine.
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9780345456878: Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood

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