How We Live

Overview

Having won the National Book Award for How We Die, his best-selling inquiry into the causes and modes of death, Sherwin Nuland now turns his attention to the miraculous resiliency of human life.  For this lucid, wonderful, and wonder-filled new book explores the body's mysterious capacity to marshal disparate organs and processes in the interests of survival.

Like its predecessor, How We Live is filled with gripping medical case histories: a woman is pulled back from ...

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Overview

Having won the National Book Award for How We Die, his best-selling inquiry into the causes and modes of death, Sherwin Nuland now turns his attention to the miraculous resiliency of human life.  For this lucid, wonderful, and wonder-filled new book explores the body's mysterious capacity to marshal disparate organs and processes in the interests of survival.

Like its predecessor, How We Live is filled with gripping medical case histories: a woman is pulled back from the brink of death from inexplicable internal bleeding; another patient triumphs over breast cancer; the "routine" removal of a polyp triggers a nearly lethal medical crisis.  For Nuland, each of these cases serves to illustrate the extraordinary responsiveness and adaptability of the human organism.  We learn how the aorta's baroreceptors monitor blood pressure and respond to its minutest fluctuations.  We follow the intricate chain of electrochemical command that makes us leap out of the path of a speeding car. We discover why the stomach--which is capable of breaking down everything from porridge to pizza--refrains from digesting itself.  Informed by sympathy for human suffering and an erudition that includes poetry and the Talmud as well as the medical canon, How We Live is science writing of the rarest kind--lucid, poetic, and genuinely uplifting.

Originally published under the title The Wisdom of the Body

"...originally published under the title The Wisdom of the Body."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An anatomy of human life, vividly illustrated…. Awe-inspiring [and] sublimely uplifting.” —Time
 
“Memorable…. A unique and worthy addition to the medical classics.” —Boston Globe
 
“Dramatic, lyrical.… The book is part medical thriller…. And part profession of faith in the beauty of human biology.”—Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Dramatic, lyrical . . .part medical thriller. . .and part profession of faith in the beauty of human biology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679781400
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 212,694
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

Note to the Vintage Edition

1. The Will to Live
2. The Constant Sea Within Maintains the Constancy Within
3. Of Nymphs, Lymph, and Courage in the Face of Cancer
4. Sympathy and the Nervous System
5. The Fundamental Unit of Life: The Cell
6. Biology, Destiny, and Free Will
7. The Act of Love
8. A Child is Born
9. The Heart of the Matter
10. The Blood Is Life
11. A Voyage Through the Gut
12. Mining the Mind: The Brain and Human Nature

Epilogue

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