Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum

Gavin Francis. Basic, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-465-07968-1
Scottish physician Francis (Empire Antarctica) couples his wealth of medical experience with his humanistic perspective to produce a user’s guide to the human body, easily conveying the sense of awe that arises from his intimate knowledge of how bodies work. Each of his 18 chapters focuses on a specific body part and includes an intricate blend of case studies, underlying anatomy and physiology, historical perspectives, and ties to artistic work. The package is a joy to read and demonstrates that the best of medicine operates in the intersection between science and the humanities. “When language is called ‘clinical’ it is usually to imply that it is without emotion,” Francis notes. “Yet clinics are often awash in emotional transactions.” Such emotion can be seen throughout the book, but it is most striking in his chapter on the breast, in which he describes how the concept of “healing” needs to be envisioned broadly. His skill as a writer and an observer of human nature become obvious when he is able to make a chapter entitled “Large Bowel & Rectum” thoroughly engaging. Francis writes with humility and makes the point that being a good medical practitioner is not “about dramatically saving lives, but quietly, methodically, trying to postpone death.” Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 317 pages - 978-1-78283-104-4
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-465-09682-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-7708-8
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