Spare Parts


How did an architect help pioneer blood transfusion in the 1660s? Why did eighteenth-century dentists buy the live teeth of poor children? And what role did a sausage skin and an enamel bath play in making kidney transplants a reality? We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world but transplant surgery is as ancient as the pyramids, with a history more surprising than we might expect. Paul Craddock takes us on a journey – from sixteenth-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants – uncovering stories of operations performed by unexpected people in unexpected places.

In stock


‘Compelling’ Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times

‘A fascinating book’ Daily Mail

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. In Spare Parts, cultural historian Paul Craddock takes us on a fascinating journey and unearths incredible untold stories, from Indian surgeons regrafting lost noses in the sixth century BC, to the seventeenth century architect who helped pioneer blood transfusions, to the French seamstress whose needlework paved the way for kidney transplants in the early 1900s.

Expertly weaving together philosophy, science and cultural history, Spare Parts explores how transplant surgery has 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.


‘By turns delightful and disturbing . . . A thoroughly engrossing read that I couldn’t put down’ LINDSEY FITZHARRIS, author of The Facemaker and The Butchering Art

‘Spare Parts is a fascinating read filled with adventure, delight and surprise’ RAHUL JANDIAL, surgeon and author of Life on a Knife’s Edge

‘This is a joyful romp through a fascinating slice of medical history’ WENDY MOORE, author of The Knife Man

Additional information

Weight 0.256 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 2 cm










617.95 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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