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The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait…

The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic (edition 2001)

by David Shenk

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188793,246 (3.88)2
Title:The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic
Authors:David Shenk
Info:Doubleday (2001), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 292 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A beautiful "biography" of Alzheimer's disease, if a bit outdated. I especially enjoyed the description of the trials of Ralph Raldo Emerson, Jonathan Swift, and Willem de Kooning. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I thought this book was going to be about one person's Alzheimers experience, however it was a history of Alzheimers itself. Very scary and interesting.
The funniest thing about this book, is I had read it earlier but FORGOT I read it!!! ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 14, 2017 |
I am taking a training class for my job about Alzheimer's and I decided to read this book because I wanted more information about the disease. This book was very readable and simple to understand, but still had a fair amount of valuable medical information.

In the beginning sections of the book, I kept thinking how amazing the human brain is. I guess it is really no wonder that it doesn't always hold out as long as the rest of the body. When I think about it, I am just totally in awe of the fact that all the neurons in my brain are firing in exactly the right way that I can be sitting here, typing, forming coherent thoughts, recognizing everything around me, etc. The brain is just an amazing organ.

This book provided a well-balanced portrayal of the disease by alternating medical information with personal stories of individuals affected by Alzheimer's. I thought it provided a very humanizing account of the disease. For much of the book, I was depressed thinking about all of the horrible things that Alzheimer's disease does to individuals. However, the end of the book was slightly uplifting. Alzheimer's is still a tragic disease, but in the last few chapters of the book, the author really makes a case for how the disease really has some things to teach us about life and humanity and the way we care for each other. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Although this book documents and explains the progress of Alzheimer's disease from the early to the final stages, it ends up leaving the reader not only comforted but also with an almost-appreciation for this manner of death. Mr. Shenk has done a great service in making this information available. If you should read this, sir, know that I (and others) thank you. ( )
  AudrieClifford | Aug 4, 2012 |
Shenk makes it clear to people that Alzheimer’s is going to be a huge socioeconomic issue within in the next ten to twenty years, but the book also approaches Alzheimer’s with a sense of dignity, stating that the people who live with it should not be treated as outcasts or lost causes. He handles the subject matter with the utmost respect, giving equal time to those suffering as to those fighting for a cure. The pacing and structuring work so well that I tended to forget I was reading a non-fiction narrative. The greatest strength of the book is that Shenk steps aside and lets others speak in their own words rather than try to take over their stories and bend them to the will of his narrative. ( )
  JosephJ | Dec 16, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385498381, Paperback)

First attracted to his subject by its horrific ability to destroy the human mind and body, journalist David Shenk ultimately finds reasons to accept Alzheimer's disease--and almost forgive it--in The Forgetting. Shenk describes his work as a biography, the life story of a biological outlaw that sends victims "on a slow but certain trajectory toward forgetting and death." But his illuminating portrait of this growing epidemic offers more than a basic chronology. Shenk begins with the disease's christening in 1906, when German physician Alois Alzheimer discovered mysterious tangles and plaques in the brain of a dead woman who in life had suffered severe memory loss and dementia. The tale unfolds to reveal a host of intriguing players: struggling scientists (the clever, the bullheaded, and the pharmaceutically endowed), politicians divided by opposing priorities, exhausted caregivers, and patients whose biological clocks virtually tick backward over an average eight-year period. It includes impossible twists: longer life expectancies and successful treatments for other diseases mean more cases of Alzheimer's will inevitably occur. Shenk's graceful synthesis of personal accounts (from Plato to Reagan) with a century-long search for answers and cures leads him to an impressive conclusion. Perhaps Alzheimer's disease is much like winter: "Once it is gone, we'll face less hardship, but we'll also have lost an important lens on life." --Liane Thomas

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Alzheimer's disease is a demographic time bomb. Since 1975, the number of Americans afflicted has risen from five hundred thousand to five million; over the next fifty years, an estimated eighty to one hundred million more people worldwide will succumb to it. But it is the story behind these numbers that makes The Forgetting such a landmark work. A magnificent synthesis of history, science, politics, psychology, and profound human drama, the book explores the nature of a disease that attacks not merely memory but the very core of our human identity." "Delving into such diverse areas as art history, literature, genetics, and neurobiology, David Shenk shows that Alzheimer's particular terror - the gradual eradication of memory and of mind - is as old as humankind itself. He convincingly posits that such historical figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jonathan Swift, and Frederick Law Olmsted were caught in the disease's insidious grip. Moving portraits of contemporary patients, their families, and their caregivers drive home the sad pattern of regression Alzheimer's exacts, a pathology that eerily mirrors child development in reverse. Yet Shenk offers a well of empathy and understanding for families striving to better understand and come to terms with their loss."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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