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  • Published: 26 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241370278
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Spare Parts

A Surprising History of Transplants

A rich, surprising and delightfully macabre history of transplant surgery

We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world but it's a lot older than you think. As ancient as the pyramids, its history is even more surprising. Cultural historian Paul Craddock takes us on a journey - from sixteenth-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants - uncovering stories of experiments and 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. It shows us that the history - and future - of transplant surgery is tied up with questions not only about who we are, but also what we are, and what we might become.

  • Published: 26 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241370278
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Praise for Spare Parts

Craddock combines meticulous scholarship with wry wit in lucid prose which is all the more powerful for being understated . . . Spare Parts is a triumph

Roger Kneebone, author of 'Expert'

This is a fascinating and sure-footed exploration of the medical, historical and mythological landscape in which humans use parts from each other to make themselves whole. With compassion and insight, Paul Craddock elucidates vital questions about what it means to be human and to realise our dreams of survival

Dr Emily Mayhew, author of 'Wounded' and 'The Four Horsemen'

This is a captivating and absorbing read that surprises on every page whether it be from prosthetic noses of the 16th Century to modern day bio-printing and stem cell technology

Professor Dame Sue Black, author of 'All That Remains'

I read Spare Parts with my mouth open, my eyes popping and my brain fizzing. It's a fascinating exploration of just how far humans will go to stay on the right side of death. I can't think of any other book whose pages will make you laugh, gasp, grimace and wince. Spare Parts is a triumph of medical story-telling

Michael Brooks, author of 'The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook' and 'Science(ish)'

Paul Craddock's book is a veritable tour de force, a tantalising journey through human efforts in understanding science, medicine, personal beliefs and ourselves over the past centuries . . .Packed with stories which bring to life the personalities, the heroes and villains, and, with benefit of hindsight, the sometime frankly incredulous ideas, we get a unique and inspiring tapestry of events . . . A thoroughly good read

Barry Fuller, Professor of Surgical Sciences at UCL Medical School

This compelling and impeccably researched history of transplant surgery puts you right at the heart of the gruesome action. An enthralling read

Richard Hollingham, author of 'Blood and Guts'

A riveting journey through the story of anatomical alchemy, Spare Parts is a fascinating read filled with adventure, delight and surprise

Rahul Jandial, surgeon and author of 'Life on a Knife's Edge'

Spare Parts is such a pleasure to read, filled with so many fascinating characters and stories that seem almost too crazy to be real; I found myself chuckling, shaking my head and yet proud to be a part of this field. This is a must read for anyone that has ever been touched by transplantation or the gift of donation, a book that makes us proud of our macabre past and excited about what can only be a limitless future

Josh D Mezrich, author of 'How Death Becomes Life'

Stuffed with eccentric characters and questionable experiments, this is a joyful romp through a fascinating slice of medical history

Wendy Moore, author of 'The Knife Man'

A perfect blend of history, science and humanity on a thrilling journey around old and new parts of the human body

Matt Morgan, author of 'Critical'

Spare Parts uncovers the gripping birth of sharing body parts, and significantly, tells us all of our current 'good ideas and innovations' have been thought of and tested already - we are simply adding to the mix. This visceral book offers us an unparalleled historical treatise, as the world of complex transplantation continues to unravel and change

Daniel Saleh, award-winning consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon


Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times

The charm of Spare Parts comes from situating these landmarks in a wider history of ideas


Anyone interested in the history of surgery will find much to amaze and startle in Paul Craddock's Spare Parts: A Surprising History of Transplants


A fascinating book

Daily Mail

[Spare Parts] has something for everyone. Hit that order button -- you won't regret it

Lindsey Fitzharris

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