An in-depth report that takes readers on a shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market.
Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years on the ground tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body parts—a vast hidden economy known as the "red market." From the horrifying to the ridiculous, he discovers its varied forms: an Indian village nicknamed "Kidneyvakkam" because most of its residents have sold their kidneys for cash; unscrupulous grave robbers who steal human bones from cemeteries, morgues, and funeral pyres for anatomical skeletons used in Western medical schools and labs; an ancient temple that makes money selling the hair of its devotees to wig makers in America -to the tune of $6 million annually.
The Red Market reveals the rise, fall, and resurgence of this multibillion-dollar underground trade through history: from early medical study and modern universities to poverty-ravaged Eurasian villages and high-tech Western labs; from body snatchers and surrogate mothers to skeleton dealers and the poor who sell body parts to survive. While local and international law enforcement have cracked down on the market, advances in science have increased the demand for human tissue—ligaments, kidneys, even rented space in women's wombs—leaving little room to consider the ethical dilemmas inherent in the flesh-and-blood trade.
By turns tragic, voyeuristic, and thought-provoking, The Red Market is an eye-opening, surreal look at a little-known global industry and its implications for all our lives.
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Scott Carney is an investigative journalist with a decade of experience living and researching in India. He is a contributing editor at Wired magazine. His reporting has also appeared on NPR, CBC, BBC, and National Geographic TV, and in Mother Jones, Fast Company, Discover, and Foreign Policy. He lives in Long Beach, California.
Peter Ganim is an actor, director, and since 2005, a narrator of audiobooks. He lives in New York City.
"Carney writes with a novelist's eye for character and detail and a muckraking reporter's gift for asking uncomfortable questions about stuff that most of us shy away from learning too much about." (Cory Doctorow, editor at BoingBoing.net)
"Downright hallucinatory" - Laura Miller, Salon
"[A] lucid and alarming book . . . . Carney knows how to tell a story and digs deeply. --The Wall Street Journal
Mr. Carney writes with considerable narrative verve, slamming home the misery of what he has witnessed with passion and visceral detail. - New York Times
The Red Market is a reminder that there are some problems that science alone cannot solve. --Nature
“The Red Market is a thrilling adventure into the global body business, with keen insight into the economics that drive it. Scott Carney investigates both our insatiable need for replacement human parts and the uncanny and often disturbing ways we go about getting them.” (Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail)
“The Red Market is an unforgettable nonfiction thriller, expertly reported. Scott Carney takes us on a tremendously revealing and twisted ride, where life and death are now mere cold cash commodities.” (Michael Largo, author of Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die)
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