The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery [NOOK Book]

Overview

The secret history of our most vital organ--the human heart

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart tells the raucous, gory, mesmerizing story of the heart, from the first "explorers" who dug up cadavers and plumbed their hearts' chambers, through the first heart surgeries-which had to be completed in three minutes before death arrived-to heart transplants and the latest medical ...
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The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery

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This item will be available on February 3, 2015.
NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
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Overview

The secret history of our most vital organ--the human heart

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart tells the raucous, gory, mesmerizing story of the heart, from the first "explorers" who dug up cadavers and plumbed their hearts' chambers, through the first heart surgeries-which had to be completed in three minutes before death arrived-to heart transplants and the latest medical efforts to prolong our hearts' lives, almost defying nature in the process.

Thought of as the seat of our soul, then as a mysteriously animated object, the heart is still more a mystery than it is understood. Why do most animals only get one billion beats? (And how did modern humans get to over two billion-effectively letting us live out two lives?) Why are sufferers of gingivitis more likely to have heart attacks? Why do we often undergo expensive procedures when cheaper ones are just as effective? What do Da Vinci, Mary Shelley, and contemporary Egyptian archaeologists have in common? And what does it really feel like to touch your own heart, or to have someone else's beating inside your chest?

Rob Dunn's fascinating history of our hearts brings us deep inside the science, history, and stories of the four chambers we depend on most.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Man Who Touched His Own Heart

"This delightful book is a page-turner, whose pulse never slows. In Dunn's hands, the evolution and history of the human heart is as engrossing, surprising, and vital as the heart itself."—Dan Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and author of The Story of the Human Body

"A perfect mix of science, history and biology, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart is a delightful page-turner that reminds us of all that we have learned by standing on the shoulders of giants. Dunn recognizes the importance of historical and comparative perspectives — historical in terms of our intellectual ancestors, and more broadly in terms of our evolutionary history."—Charles Nunn, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health at Duke University and author of The Evolution of Sleep

"We've all got to have heart, and Rob Dunn's wonderful book will help us have a better one. Or at the very least, it will help us be more informed about the heart we have, with its peculiar history and its fragile yet sturdy operation. Over the course of two billion beats, hearts break and are mended, and Dunn is there to chronicle their stories. In a gripping style, he shows us how our hearts are linked to those of ancient Egyptians, chimpanzees and lungfish, and how these linkages help us solve the modern heart's mysteries."—Marlene Zuk, Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and author of Paleofantasy

"In this story of one of the body parts I worry about most, Rob Dunn brings the skills of a great writer and the knowledge of a fine evolutionary biologist together in the form of a gripping drama that gallops across thousands of years and from graveyard to surgical theatre to modern doctor's office. In the process Dunn sheds light not just on our own hearts but also those of all of the other animals with which we share Earth."—Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of The Population Bomb and Hope on Earth

"From the tale of the African American doctor in a poor hospital who first dared pierce a beating heart with a surgical needle, Rob Dunn's stirring chronicle of the triumphs and tragedies that have informed our fragile understanding of the heart beats with the energy and emotion worthy of his subject."—Jamie Shreeve, Science Editor at National Geographic

Praise for The Wild Life of Our Bodies

"An extraordinary book about a previously little explored subject. With clarity and charm the author takes the reader into the overlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an important domain of the human condition."—E.O. Wilson

"A pleasure to read. He is not a biologist moonlighting as a writer; he is both. Dunn also does a wonderful job interspersing history, research, and speculation with real-life human beings. He has a natural flair for drama and tension . . . a highly readable, informative mashing of ideas and disciplines."—Boston Globe

"[Dunn is] a master at applying the principle of administering a spoonful of sugar (i.e., humor) to make the "medicine" of complicated scientific information not merely interesting but gripping. Nothing less than an every-person's handbook for understanding life, great and small, on planet Earth."—Booklist (starred review)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316225809
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 2/3/2015
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook

Meet the Author

Rob Dunn is an associate professor in Ecology and Evolution in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University. The author of The Wild Life of Our Bodies and Every Living Thing, his magazine work is published widely, including in National Geographic, Natural History, New Scientist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and was a Fulbright Fellow. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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