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The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

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The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery Cover

ISBN13: 9780316182348
ISBN10: 0316182346
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, tales of the brain and the history of neuroscience.

Early studies of the functions of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike — strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, lobotomies, horrendous accidents — and see how the victim coped. In many cases survival was miraculous, and observers could only marvel at the transformations that took place afterward, altering victims' personalities. An injury to one section can leave a person unable to recognize loved ones; some brain trauma can even make you a pathological gambler, pedophile, or liar. But a few scientists realized that these injuries were an opportunity for studying brain function at its extremes. With lucid explanations and incisive wit, Sam Kean explains the brain's secret passageways while recounting forgotten stories of common people whose struggles, resiliency, and deep humanity made modern neuroscience possible.

Review:

"This is Sam Kean's finest work yet, an entertaining and offbeat history of the brain populated with mad scientists, deranged criminals, geniuses, and wretched souls. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is one of those books that will have you following your friends around, reading passages out loud, until they snatch the book away from you and read it for themselves. Good luck getting it back." Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist

Review:

"Put your Netflix queue on hold. Sam Kean's The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons will command your full attention from the first page. It's not just an engaging guide to mysteries of existence; it's compelling story-telling for anyone with a taste for the bizarre and metaphysical." William Poundstone, author of Rock Breaks Scissors

Review:

"In tale after tale, best-selling author Kean provides a fascinating, and at times gloriously gory, look at how early efforts in neurosurgery were essentially a medical guessing game....Entertaining and quotable, Kean's writing is sharp, and each individual story brings the history of neuroscience to life. Compulsively readable, wicked scientific fun." Kirkus

Review:

"To pick up one of these stories is to lose oneself in them. Where does the brain end and the mind begin? Curious readers will find both brain and mind fully revved up while engaging with this powerfully appealing and thought-provoking work of neuroscience history." Booklist

Review:

"Strokes, seizures, accidents: if they don't kill, they can traumatize the brain so badly that an individual's personality can be significantly changed. But, explains New York Times best-selling author of the terrific The Violinist's Thumb, early neuroscientists saw such traumas as an opportunity to study the brain's wondrous workings." Library Journal, "Barbara's Picks"

About the Author

Sam Kean is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist, and has been featured on NPR's Radiolab and All Things Considered."

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

jordan.elisabeths, November 16, 2014 (view all comments by jordan.elisabeths)
Sam Kean's finest work yet - this delightful tale will delight the history buff and science fan with tales of how we know what we know about the workings of the human brain - often through curious bouts of violence, odd accidents, famous murders, and infamous historical characters. This book details the workings of the human brain through historical and personal anecdotes, and is sure to leave your mind hungry for more.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
ReadsAboutEverything, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by ReadsAboutEverything)
I'm an avid reader of popular science books about the brain, so I'm adding this to my To-Read list. Another author who uses stories about patients to explore the workings of the brain is Oliver Sacks, a neuroscientist who has written several books that are very accessible to the layperson. The mention of "trauma" in the title of "The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" reminded me of the famous patient from the 19th century Phineas Gage, whose very personality changed after an accident put a crowbar through his head. The author Antonio Damasio used Gage's story as a springboard to explore the role of the brain in our emotions, in his book "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain". Damasio's stuff is a bit more technical, but still accessible.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
jchoppes, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by jchoppes)
I have studied Psychology a lot in my life, because human
beings and their behavior, fascinate me...The Smithsonian
has a wonderful collection of old neurosurgery instruments
that completely fascinated me! How far we have come with
the brain is amazing and yet, there is still so much mystery
surrounding the brain, the psyche, the soul, etc.
Many thanks, Cindi
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316182348
Author:
Kean, Sam
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery Used Hardcover
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$18.50 In Stock
Product details pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316182348 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This is Sam Kean's finest work yet, an entertaining and offbeat history of the brain populated with mad scientists, deranged criminals, geniuses, and wretched souls. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is one of those books that will have you following your friends around, reading passages out loud, until they snatch the book away from you and read it for themselves. Good luck getting it back."
"Review" by , "Put your Netflix queue on hold. Sam Kean's The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons will command your full attention from the first page. It's not just an engaging guide to mysteries of existence; it's compelling story-telling for anyone with a taste for the bizarre and metaphysical."
"Review" by , "In tale after tale, best-selling author Kean provides a fascinating, and at times gloriously gory, look at how early efforts in neurosurgery were essentially a medical guessing game....Entertaining and quotable, Kean's writing is sharp, and each individual story brings the history of neuroscience to life. Compulsively readable, wicked scientific fun."
"Review" by , "To pick up one of these stories is to lose oneself in them. Where does the brain end and the mind begin? Curious readers will find both brain and mind fully revved up while engaging with this powerfully appealing and thought-provoking work of neuroscience history."
"Review" by , "Strokes, seizures, accidents: if they don't kill, they can traumatize the brain so badly that an individual's personality can be significantly changed. But, explains New York Times best-selling author of the terrific The Violinist's Thumb, early neuroscientists saw such traumas as an opportunity to study the brain's wondrous workings."
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