A Left-Hand Turn Around the World: Chasing the Mystery and Meaning of All Things Southpaw

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Traveling from the halls of history to the halls of science, Wolman explores a Scottish castle designed for left-handed swordfights, visits a Paris museum to inspect nineteenth-century brains that hold clues to this biological puzzle, and observes chimps with a primatologist in Atlanta who may help unravel the evolutionary mystery of left-handedness. Along the way, Wolman meets fellow left-handers who share his sense of kinship and reveal the essence of Southpaw. There is sinister Diabolos Rex, follower of the ...

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Overview

Traveling from the halls of history to the halls of science, Wolman explores a Scottish castle designed for left-handed swordfights, visits a Paris museum to inspect nineteenth-century brains that hold clues to this biological puzzle, and observes chimps with a primatologist in Atlanta who may help unravel the evolutionary mystery of left-handedness. Along the way, Wolman meets fellow left-handers who share his sense of kinship and reveal the essence of Southpaw. There is sinister Diabolos Rex, follower of the Left Hand Path; and John Evans, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. In Japan, Wolman tees off with the National Association of Left-Handed Golfers and seeks wisdom from a left-handed baseball legend. A seamless blend of science, travel, culture, and humor, this inquisitive exploration of all things Southpaw is sure to be the perfect book for lefties and for all the righties who love them.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Nola Theiss
This book is based on the author's self-interest in the subject of left-handedness. As the only left-handed child in a family of six, the subject has intrigued him since he was a child. His research led to historical explanations and scientific research, especially Broca's discovery that the brain is divided into two halves and joined by a web of connections that cause the left brain to control the right side of the body and vice-versa. Wolman also looks at more modern research, which seems to imply that the difference is really between those who are strongly one side dominant and those who "mix it up," changing dominance with the task. He goes to Scotland to study a clan that is predominately left-handed to see if there are any advantages in war and also studies the impact of left-handedness in sports. He includes a chapter on how parents can best deal with left-handedness in children. While Wolman's research is well documented and the book has extensive notes, what makes it enjoyable as well as informative is his self-deprecating and somewhat flippant manner of explaining some pretty esoteric theories and his own obsession with the topic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567318807
  • Publisher: MJF Books
  • Publication date: 11/30/2007
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Wolman is a journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as Discover, Newsweek, New Scientist, Forbes, Outside, Wired, and the San Jose Mercury News. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 3, 2009

    Lefties Rock

    Ahem, I, too, am a lefty and proud of it as only those of us who are so few can possibly be. This book was very entertaining and enlightening. I love it when I see someone on TV or at a restaurant writing with their left hand. It reminds me that I'm not the only one. I hate when people ask me if I'm really left-handed. What do they think, I changed my hand preference just to look cool? Sorry. This book taught me quite a bit about why there are so few of us unabashedly artistic types in the world, which, of course, interested me greatly. This is the kin of book that can only be written by a lefty because only we understand how much fun it is to see another lefty. With right-handed people, they don't even notice. Oh, another right-handed person. Wow. I love the word "handedness;" I had never seen it before this book. It's fun to be special, and it's even more fun to know why. In some ways, we are kind of a clique. When you meet another lefty, you can compare how much of your hand was covered with pencil lead in grade school and how you taught yourself to write without smearing everything (I didn't write in pen for years because of this).

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  • Posted February 3, 2009

    Perspective from a lefty

    I'm a lefty and if you haven't figured out yet the book is about lefty's. I think its a great book both to read in your free time and to read as a scholar. Its also funny. If your trying to by it for kids there are a few profanity words in the book. You may want to read it yourself before you give it to your kid or teen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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