AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD
"Glorious. . .You will marvel at the brilliance and vast weirdness of your design." —The Washington Post
Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody.
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body--how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, "We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.
Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling), known for his travel narratives and, more recently, popular scientific works, turns his humorous and curious eye to the human body. Through anecdotes about scientific history and startling facts that seem too extraordinary to be true the DNA in one person, if stretched out, would measure billions of miles and reach beyond Pluto Bryson draws the reader into his subject. Tracing the beginnings of the modern understanding of the human body, Bryson introduces his audience to such foundational figures as Henry Gray, whose book Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical (better known as Gray's Anatomy) has taught generations of medical students since its first publication in 1858, and Wilbur Olin Atwater, a chemist whose 1898 The Chemical Composition of American Food Materials "remained the last word on diet and nutrition for a generation." Bryson also describes the often bewildering mystery of diseases, the science of pain, and the advances made in medical treatment, all with care and concern. Bryson's tone is both informative and inviting, encouraging the reader, throughout this exemplary work, to share the sense of wonder he expresses at how the body is constituted and what it is capable of.
Customer ReviewsSee All
What book! Bryson does it again. You will often laugh, as you learn how you are probably wrecking your body.
Another excellent Bryson tome.
Bryson covers a complex subject in an entertaining and remarkably thorough narrative given the complexity and the extent of the subject matter. His references are extensive and the topic is clearly well researched albeit necessarily scant at times by virtue of that complexity and extent. Nevertheless he manages to convey a clear understanding of each of the areas. A thoroughly enjoyable read but at times a distressing read regarding the paucity of medical knowledge of some of the many ills which can befall the human race.
A must read owners manual for your body at any age. Bryson’s humor adds fun to this head to toe assessment.