Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

Yesterday The Boston Globe ran my review of Holly Tucker’s Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution.

Here’s a bit from the review:

Much of Tucker’s story, including the tranfusionists’ ideas, seems absurd by today’s standards. But at least they were wrong for the right reasons: willingness to examine society’s fundamental preconceptions. What’s chilling about these tales from the scientific counterrevolution is that “science’’ confidently distinguished itself from superstition: Learned men condescended to the witch doctor on one hand, but, to take but one example, when the brother of an eminent Parisian physician “was likely struck by a severe case of typhoid fever, both brothers felt certain that the illness had been brought on by sleeping in sheets that had been dried near roses.’’ Ah, the science of certainty.

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