VCU’s Common Book for 2022 is The Organ Thieves by Richmond author, Chip Jones. Join the Friends of VCU Libraries Book Club on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 pm at Cabell Library (or on Zoom) for a discussion lead by University Archivist Jodi Koste. The group will meet on the 4th floor of Cabell Library in the Cabell Room at 2 p.m. Guests may also join via Zoom. Please email for more information and the Zoom link.

From the publisher’s website:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks meets Get Out in this “startling…powerful” (Kirkus Reviews) investigation of racial inequality at the core of the heart transplant race.

In 1968, Bruce Tucker, a black man, went into Virginia’s top research hospital with a head injury, only to have his heart taken out of his body and put into the chest of a white businessman. Now, in The Organ Thieves, Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Chip Jones exposes the horrifying inequality surrounding Tucker’s death and how he was used as a human guinea pig without his family’s permission or knowledge.

The circumstances surrounding his death reflect the long legacy of mistreating African Americans that began more than a century before with cadaver harvesting and worse. It culminated in efforts to win the heart transplant race in the late 1960s. Featuring years of research and fresh reporting, along with a foreword from social justice activist Ben Jealous, “this powerful book weaves together a medical mystery, a legal drama, and a sweeping history, its characters confronting unprecedented issues of life and death under the shadows of centuries of racial injustice” (Edward L. Ayers, author of The Promise of the New South).”

In her position as University Archivist, Koste worked directly with author Jones over the course of three years of research into the race for the first heart transplant in the Southern United States. Koste brings expert knowledge regarding the history of VCU and the MCV Campus, as well as the wider history of health sciences, Civil War medicine and archival education.

The Organ Thieves is available via local bookstores as well as VCU Libraries (VCU alumni may register for borrowing privilege. The general public may borrow books when the join the Friends of VCU Libraries at the $100 or above level.)

Categories Uncategorized