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September 17, 1973


Author Affiliations

Duke University Durham, NC

JAMA. 1973;225(12):1536. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220400062027

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Formerly I began my lectures on anemia with the unadorned statement that hemoglobin transports oxygen. This year I shall tell my students that, without hemoglobin's unique oxygen-carrying capacities, 1,360 liters of plasma would be needed each minute to carry a man's required oxygen in the dissolved state. This book by Dr. Hackett is a treasure trove of such odd facts, and of historical narrative, painstaking explanations of phenomena such as fainting or malarial chills, evolutionary conjectures, and etymologic enlightenment.

Dr. Hackett, an Irish-trained pathologist and blood banker now prominent among Australian pathologists, explores in laymen's language all kinds of mythologic, popular, and scientific lore about blood. The scientific explanations of blood coagulation, circulatory pathophysiology, blood grouping, evolution, and certain genetic mechanisms are lucid enough for the nonscientist, and piquant enough to delight (and enlighten) the physician. Some sections are simplistic, and the style is a trifle prolix, so that few