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Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story…

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science

by John Fleischman

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I could use this book in a Special Education class, perhaps in the ninth or tenth grade, to teach about the functions of the brain, behavior, emotion and thought. I would read desired parts of the book aloud and make read along copies for the students. This way students can hear the material, as well as read it themselves and mark on the paper if they need to. I could also use this book in fourth or fifth grade to teach about old science vs. new science, and about germs and proper health. I would read the desired material to the students to help explain difficult content or vocabulary. The students could then make Venn Diagrams to document scientific myth vs. scientific fact, and practice proper hand and desk sanitation in the classroom.
  Courtney_Kelley | Mar 9, 2017 |
Phineas Gage is an interesting subject, but this title left me generally unimpressed. It is classified as a biography, and though it does follow Phineas Gage from his accident until his death, the amount of information about the brain in general makes it feel like it could be categorized elsewhere. It reminded me of true crime novels where the killer was never found or didn't confess to everything.

Early in the book, there was a long parenthetical didactic moment stressing the importance of wearing a helmet when engaging in certain activities. Don't get me wrong, this is an important thing to know, but didn't seem to fit with the book (and it was the only inclusion of this type).

Another odd element was the continued use of a quotation marks. Every word that could be deemed new vocabulary was surrounded by the little guys. It seemed they were used as "emphasis," but it made for some "very" annoying reading at times.

The book is written in a conversational tone, which is nice. It was set up so that there was case study information and then would shift to the science side of it. It's almost like reading an episode of Bill Nye or another science-y show.

Best description ever: The iron rod was like "a rocket through his brain." ( )
  jennk | Mar 11, 2016 |
Booktalk: The most unlucky/lucky moment in the life of Phineas Gage is only a minute or two away...In a moment Phineas will have a horrible accident. I can't go into all the details but suffice to say...this is what happened to Phineas (show page 7). In an accident, a pointed iron rod shot straight through Phineas' cheek, through the top of his skull, and landed 30 feet away. Amazingly, Phineas did not die. Amazingly, as blood poured from his head, he sat up and started talking about the accident. Amazingly, Phineas would go on to live another 11 years. And amazingly, his accident would go on to teach scientists more about the brain than they ever knew before...The unluckiest/luckiest man in the world: Phineas Gage, A gruesome but true story about brain science.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
A great little book that would entertain most any, and in particular 12-year-old boys. The story of Phineas Gage's lack powder accident is compelling. The numerous photographs do well to keep the reading highly interesting and moving along. I loved the photo of his skull propped next to his iron packing tool -truly chilling. If you have a child who avoids reading like spinach, then locate this book and start reading it aloud. You'll be lucky if you finish chapter one before he or she snatches it from your hands. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book report is about a man named Phineas Gage. Gage is a famous railroad construction worker in the 1800's, but he is well know for his serious injury. On September 13,1848, 26 year-old Gage was supervising rock blasting for a new railroad. While preparing for the blast, Gage was distracted looked over his right shoulder when a tamping iron slipped from between his legs into a hole with blasting powder. In less than a second, the pointy end of the rod entered under his left cheek bone and went behind his left eye through his brain and out the middle of his forehead. Amazingly, he lived and medical science learned a lot from him. Gage had abrupt changes in his mood control and personality after he recovered from the initial injury. We now know that the frontal lobe controls mood, memory, fear, and choices. In the book, the author uses Gage's injury to teach brain anatomy and science. He also describes Phrenology which is the study of brain science related to skull shape. The author believes little organs in the brain have different and specific functions. This is exemplified by Phineas Gage's story. Gage surprisingly lived 11 years after the injury. Even after his death, he still continues to teach students of neurology and psychology about how the lobes of the frontal cortex work.

I decided to choose this book because I saw a show about Phineas Gage. I wanted to read and learn more about his story. I really liked this book because I learned a lot about how the frontal lobe controls fear and mood. I liked the picture models of his head and brain after the injury. Also, I enjoyed the way the author organized the book with Gage's history combined with the science of his behavior changes related to his brain injury. I would recommend this book to people who like brain science because it teaches in an entertaining way about the science of the brain and behavior. I would rate this book five stars because I really liked it for that reason. ( )
  JettJ.G1 | Oct 18, 2015 |
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"I said at the beginning that you decide for yourself what kind of luck he had at the end. This is what I think: Phineas Gage was lucky. His accident was terrible. It changed him into someone else, and yet Phineas figured out how to live as that new person for eleven years. He was limited in ways that are important to all human beings, but he found a way to live, working with horse. He took care of himself. He saw the world. He died with his family around him, the only people who knew both the old and new Phineas."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618494782, Paperback)

Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. A railroad construction foreman, Phineas was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived another eleven years and became a textbook case in brain science. But he was forever changed by the accident, and what happened inside his brain will tell you a lot about how your brain works and what makes us who we are.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:48 -0400)

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Through the case history of Phineas Gage, a 19th century Vermonter who had an iron bar driven through his brain and lived, the book examines what is known of brain function.

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