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Except for legends and claims of miracles, most histories of transplantation cover only the last 60 years because there were no earlier successes. However, the story of even this era has been documented in such rich detail that a full account would fill several volumes. Thus, this brief summary must be limited to highly selected “landmarks.”
Some landmarks had an immediate impact, but the importance of others went unrecognized for decades. Some findings that deserved landmark status were overlooked or forgotten, whereas others of no biological significance had major impact.
Placing these events in perspective is challenging. Several of transplantation’s pioneers are still alive, and most of the others are within living memory. Virtually all of them have produced their own accounts. For the most part, they agree on what the “landmarks” are, but their differences in emphasis and perspective make an interesting story.