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In 1938, just before World War II broke out, the city of London (population 9 million) only had eight pints of blood in storage ready for transfusion. For context, consider that the human body contains nine pints.
“By then, Britain knew to expect mass casualties, and it was pretty well expected that war would break out soon and London would be bombed,” says journalist Rose George. The men in power were preparing for war. They just weren’t thinking about the importance of blood in treating the wounded that were sure to come.
George is the author of Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood. The book takes us through the cultural history of blood, as well as the scientific advances and endearing taboos. “If…