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This title in other editions

Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form

by

Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A witty and informed survey, Adam's Navel is a unique brew of science, history, and storytelling that illuminates our perception, exploitation, and celebration of the human body.

Moving from head to toe in twelve chapters, Michael Sims blends cultural history with evolutionary theory to produce a wonderfully original narrative. "No part of the body lacks a story," writes Sims, who analyzes and demystifies the visible parts of the body that make up the whole — our animal form that is also a screen onto which we project our fears and obsessions. He tells of dreadlocks and Achilles' heel, of fingerprints and penis size. He discusses the history of breast-feeding, the allure of navel rings, ancient rules for shaking hands, why nature builds men and women on a female body plan, and how the evolution of our two-legged stance affects childbirth and back pain.

Drawing on evolution and the mechanics of human anatomy, along with Shakespeare, mythology, film, and popular culture, Sims creates a marvelous new lens through which to view this body that we inhabit almost unconsciously. Adam's Navel is a field guide to the landscape of ourselves.

Review:

"[A]n entertaining, witty and erudite jackdaw's nest of a book. Sims seems not only to have read everything, the trivial as well as the lofty, but to have remembered all of it. The range of reference is dizzying." John Banville, The New York Times

Review:

"[D]elightful....There's an entertaining fact on nearly every page....Sims marshals his disparate stories and facts into a cohesive whole with frequent humorous asides and poetic waxings....[R]ollicking..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[The book] can be opened at any page, so densely packed with fascinating information that it is probably best read in small chunks....Great fun." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Sims entertains us with the amazing strategies humans have devised for displaying, manipulating, and encoding our body parts....A lively and wide-ranging excursion." Bryce Christensen, Booklist

Review:

"The book is certainly entertaining but ultimately not much more; it includes little scientific examination and little about cultures beyond the United States and Western Europe. Recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

In this fascinating brew of science and storytelling, readers encounter not only accessible explanations of the mechanics of their anatomy, but also the layers of mythology, religious lore, history, Darwinian theory, and popular culture that have helped to shape our understanding of any given body part. For the human hand, we learn how the tiny nerve endings work, as well as the history of the handshake, the discovery of fingerprints, the connection between hand movement and language, and even how Proust regarded our all-important paws. And that's just the hand! There's the history of breast-feeding, the raison d'etre of tears, the art and science of lipreading, and, in Sims's discussion of the nose, Nietzsche's declaration tha this genius resided in his nostrils.

Synopsis:

Drawing on evolution and the mechanics of human anatomy, a science writer conducts an engaging tour of the human form--where biology and culture intersect.

Synopsis:

In this amusing and brilliantly conceived book, Michael Sims introduces you to your body. Moving from head to toe, Sims blends cultural history with evolutionary theory to produce a wonderfully original narrative in which he analyzes the visible parts of the body. In this fascinating brew of science and storytelling, readers encounter not only accessible explanations of the mechanics of their anatomy, but also the layers of mythology, religious lore, history, Darwinian theory, and popular culture that have helped to shape our understanding of any given body part. A titillating and unique book, Adam’s Navel is learned and entertaining, a marvelous lens through which to study the form we all inhabit—but may not really understand.

About the Author

Michael Sims has written about science and culture for newspapers and radio, and for magazines ranging from American Archaeology to Creative Loafing.

Table of Contents

Adam's Navel Introduction: The Form Complete

Neanderthals Yawned · The Mystery of the Visible

Part One: Headquarters

1. The Not-Quite-Naked Ape

The Hair of the Prophet · The Mark of the Beast · Burn It or Bury It · Samson's Hair · A Metaphysical Operation · The Etiquette of Deciduousness

2. Face-to-Face

The Family Face · The Face on Mars

3. The Vigilant Eye

Flesh Becomes a Mirror · Supercilious · The Blink of an Eye · The Dreaming Eye · Close Your Eyes

4. Houdini's Wiggle

The Ear of a Thousand Li · Darwin's Points and Houdini's Wiggle · Nor the Ear Filled with Hearing

5. A Ridiculous Organ

6. The Archaic Smile

Louis Armstrong's Lips · The Badge of a Harlot · A Kiss Is Just a Kiss · The Necessary and Ambivalent Tongue · Don't Read My Lips

Part Two: The Weight of the World

7. Arms and the Man

8. The Monkey's Paw

A Free Hand · Finger Math · Rule of Thumb · Our Natal Autograph · Tobin's Palm · On the Other Hand · Playing Chess with Death

9. Madonna del Latte

Breasts and "the Breast" · Via Lactia · The She-Devil from Hooter City · Topless · The Pillow of Paradise Versus the Millstone of History

10. Adam's Navel

Untying the Knot · A Brief History of Navel-Gazing

Part Three: A Leg to Stand on

11. Privy Members

The Commotion · Vagina Dialogues · Leonardo's Intelligent Organ · Boswell's Johnson · The Senator's Body Hair

12. Our Steed the Leg

Two Legs Good and Bad · The Scarecrow Learns to Dance · The Goddess with Beautiful Buttocks · Toes with Special Properties · Pedestrian Crossing

Acknowledgments

Selected Bibliography and Further Reading

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780142004647
Other:
Sims, Michael
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Sims, Michael
Subject:
General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution - Human
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Human Physiology
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Anatomy and Physiology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20040631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w illustrations on chapter opening pag
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.68x5.24x.65 in. .52 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General

Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Penguin Books - English 9780142004647 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A]n entertaining, witty and erudite jackdaw's nest of a book. Sims seems not only to have read everything, the trivial as well as the lofty, but to have remembered all of it. The range of reference is dizzying."
"Review" by , "[D]elightful....There's an entertaining fact on nearly every page....Sims marshals his disparate stories and facts into a cohesive whole with frequent humorous asides and poetic waxings....[R]ollicking..."
"Review" by , "[The book] can be opened at any page, so densely packed with fascinating information that it is probably best read in small chunks....Great fun."
"Review" by , "Sims entertains us with the amazing strategies humans have devised for displaying, manipulating, and encoding our body parts....A lively and wide-ranging excursion."
"Review" by , "The book is certainly entertaining but ultimately not much more; it includes little scientific examination and little about cultures beyond the United States and Western Europe. Recommended."
"Synopsis" by , In this fascinating brew of science and storytelling, readers encounter not only accessible explanations of the mechanics of their anatomy, but also the layers of mythology, religious lore, history, Darwinian theory, and popular culture that have helped to shape our understanding of any given body part. For the human hand, we learn how the tiny nerve endings work, as well as the history of the handshake, the discovery of fingerprints, the connection between hand movement and language, and even how Proust regarded our all-important paws. And that's just the hand! There's the history of breast-feeding, the raison d'etre of tears, the art and science of lipreading, and, in Sims's discussion of the nose, Nietzsche's declaration tha this genius resided in his nostrils.
"Synopsis" by , Drawing on evolution and the mechanics of human anatomy, a science writer conducts an engaging tour of the human form--where biology and culture intersect.

"Synopsis" by ,

In this amusing and brilliantly conceived book, Michael Sims introduces you to your body. Moving from head to toe, Sims blends cultural history with evolutionary theory to produce a wonderfully original narrative in which he analyzes the visible parts of the body. In this fascinating brew of science and storytelling, readers encounter not only accessible explanations of the mechanics of their anatomy, but also the layers of mythology, religious lore, history, Darwinian theory, and popular culture that have helped to shape our understanding of any given body part. A titillating and unique book, Adam’s Navel is learned and entertaining, a marvelous lens through which to study the form we all inhabit—but may not really understand.

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