The Red Market

  • by Scott Carney
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"Mr. Carney writes with considerable narrative verve." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I now want to buy a human skeleton!

If you liked STIFF get this book! Scott Carney takes us on an incredible journey which is sometimes hard to believe exists. The solid narration by Peter Ganim helped push this story along very well.
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- CBlox

Interesting and depressing

I'd had this book on my wish list for a long time, and I'm glad I finally chose to listen to it because it is a fascinating look at the myriad of ways that parts of people are bought, sold, and traded across the world. Some are voluntary, some are financially motivated, some are criminally stolen. Buying blood, hair donations, organ sales, hired surrogates, kidnapped children adopted out internationally........the stories are both interesting and depressing. Because of the internet and the ease of world travel, local laws are not much of a restriction when laws of other countries allow one to obtain internationally what is not available locally. And sometimes even what one obtains locally could have been sourced internationally - with ethical problems attached - without one knowing. It's a complicated and ethically fraught web of problems.

I did find the author a little overly preachy about some issues, but it didn't detract much from the overall effect of the book. I can't quite say I enjoyed it, but it was very interesting and a worthwhile "read".
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- Calliope

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-28-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios