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Leech (Animal) Paperback – 7 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (7 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780230338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780230337
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Robert G. W. Kirk is Wellcome Research Fellow in the Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester. Neil Pemberton is a Research Associate in the Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Haeg on 12 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is part of a series that presents a detailed natural and cultural history of a species. Each book is nicely sized, beautifully illustrated and an enjoyable easy read yet full of interesting facts. However, I initially thought that a volume on the leech might be pushing the concept - could such a creature sustain interest over a book length account? The answer is a most definite YES!

Leeches, it turns out, are fascinating little worms that do not (quite) deserve their reputation as monstrous bloodsuckers. Or, at least, this is what the authors of this book ask us to believe. The book first presents a detailed account of the natural history, biology and reproductive behaviour of leeches, showing the little critters to be very strange even when left to their own devices. Subsequent chapters launch into a fascinating and in depth account of the various places leeches have appeared in human history. This is where the weird gets even weirder. I would never have thought that leeches were so desirable in the 19th century that some entrepreneurs made their fortune by turning swamps in to highly profitable leech farms! Nor that leeches have shaped fashions and inspired art. We also learn of how leeches have informed gothic horror (think vampires!) and how they continue, even today, to be used in surgery. The book is delightfully written throughout, demonstrating a fine sense of humour that knowingly hints at the often surreal nature of the tale being told. It's also lavishly illustrated throughout with many startling colour images (though some may not be for the feint hearted!)

By the end I was persuaded that the story of leeches is a very human story. This book has opened my eyes to the weird world of bloodsucking worms and made me think again about how I might respond to a leech should I meet one. I'm not sure that I can yet say that I love leeches, but I certainly like them a whole lot more than I expected to! Highly recommended.
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By Imitation on 4 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I already found leeches fascinating and wanted to learn more about them, although this book tends to focus on the human and leech relationship and their parasitic portrayal in modern times and medicinal value that history has seen it still is incredibly interesting :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
Blobs after your blood. And if repulsive, interesting creatures still. 23 Feb. 2015
By lyndonbrecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At last, a book about leeches. For some unknown reason I have long been interested in this animal. Kirk offers another volume in the "Animal" series that as usual has natural history and the animal in culture, and here, as part of medicine. The illustrations are good, not that the leech is a particularly photogenic creature. This is a lively and well-written account.

The chapters are the natural leech; the medical leech; the capitalist leech; mechanical leech, wild leech, horror leech, biomedical leech and concluding leech. The capitalist leech is not a Marxist sketch of the rich living off the poor, but the sales of medical leeches. The mechanical leech, well read the book. I found the most interesting portion to be the use of leeches in medicine, old style (used to balance the four humors) and the contemporary interest.
Great book about leeches 6 Oct. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great and informative study of leeches, from people who obviously really care about their subject. If you're interested in leeches, start here.
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