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Adventures in human being by Gavin Francis
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Adventures in human being (2015)

by Gavin Francis

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More reviews at TheBibliophage.com.

Physician Gavin Francis truly takes readers on Adventures in Human Being. From stem to stern, tip to toes, Francis picks a vital part of anatomy and verbally dissects it. It’s a fascinating premise for anyone who enjoys information about their body, or who is just beginning the learning adventure.

Francis organizes his essays in seven sections: Brain, Head, Chest, Upper Limb, Abdomen, Pelvis, and Lower Limb. Each essay takes a particular topic related to a vital organ or organs, including patient stories, and those from Francis’ doctoring experiences.

As much philosophical as it is anatomical, Adventures in Human Being draws from various cultures and traditions as well. Francis may discuss stigmata, while detailing injuries to a patient’s hands. Or he’ll present the womb as holding within it the fine line between life and death. His approach is unique, and eminently readable.

I listened to the audiobook, with excellent narration by Thomas Judd. While it’s not a reference book, I think I’ll refer back to it as medical events happen in our family. I may even track down a print copy so as to have the ability to ponder elements of the essays in a different way.

This is a book about the human body that’s as much about being a human as it is about the body itself. Highly recommend for science nerds and anyone with a body! ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
Enjoyable and informative. It was described in one on cover review as unpretentious - probably the word that best described this book for me; it humbly brings a depth of medical, human and philosophical knowledge and thought to the reader. ( )
  mnorfolk49 | Jul 19, 2017 |
The book is a description of the wonders of Human anatomy with a variety of case histories and references to history and literature. ( )
  snash | Nov 19, 2016 |
(Audio version) I loved this book! I had few expectations going in, and just bought it because it was on sale, and the narrator sounded good in the excerpt. It is a series of essays about the human body, but they flow together so well that it feels more like a single narrative. The author is a doctor who is clearly fascinated by the intricacy and wonder or the human body. He starts at the brain and works his way down to the toes. It is a mixture of medical information, history, philosophy, and folklore. He looks at the achievements and limitations of modern medicine, and also considers how some other societies think about health and healing. My only warning for potential readers is that there is some pretty vivid surgical detail in places. ( )
  SylviaC | Oct 25, 2016 |
Often disconcerting as the author brings us closer than we are comfortable with, to our fragility and our mortality. He often has a lovely descriptive touch though, and the sense that all this truth is there in everyday life, but that we don't normally see it, lacking his medical perspective. Recommended. ( )
  Matt_B | Sep 30, 2016 |
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Epigraph
That thrice-worthy Mercury calls man a great Miracle, a Creature like the Creator, the Ambassador of the Gods. Pythagoras the Measure of all things. Plato the wonder of Wonders...All men with one consent, call him Microcosmos or, The Little World. For his body is, as it were, a Magazine or Store-house of all the virtues and efficacies of all bodies, and his soul is the power and force of all living and sensible things.

Helkiah Crooke, introduction to Microcosmographia (1615)
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"We assume we know our bodies intimately, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. How many of us understand the way seizures affect the brain, how the heart is connected to wellbeing, or the why the foot carries the key to our humanity? In Adventures in Human Being, award-winning author Gavin Francis leads readers on a journey into the hidden pathways of the human body, offering a guide to its inner workings and a celebration of its marvels. Drawing on his experiences as a surgeon, ER specialist, and family physician, Francis blends stories from the clinic with episodes from medical history, philosophy, and literature to describe the body in sickness and in health, in living and in dying. At its heart, Adventures in Human Being is a meditation on what it means to be human. Poetic, eloquent, and profoundly perceptive, this book will transform the way you view your body."--"We all have plenty of long-held ideas about our bodies, but for many of us our bodies remain uncharted territory. In Adventures in Human Being, physician and award-winning author Gavin Francis leads readers on a journey into the hidden pathways of the human body, from the brain's pea-sized pineal gland--the so-called "seat of the soul"--to the delicate machinery of the hand, and from the cranium to the calcaneum, the largest bone in the foot. Drawing on his work as a General Practitioner in Scotland, as well as his experiences traveling and practicing medicine in Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and the Arctic, Francis blends case studies, first-hand accounts, and episodes from medical history, philosophy, and literature to reveal not only what can go wrong with our bodies, but also how our ideas about our anatomy have evolved. Mirroring the structure of classic anatomy books, Adventures in Human Being proceeds from the brain down to the feet, stopping along the way to reflect on how seizures occur, what vertigo really means, and why kidney transplants work. At its heart, Adventures in Human Being is a reflection on what it means to be human: for behind each disease, degeneration, or miraculous recovery lies a story of suffering and survival, lucky and unlucky, fragile and resilient. Poetic, eloquent and profoundly perceptive, Adventures in Human Being will transform the way you view your body"--… (more)

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