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.
"Mysterious and miraculous, the human body is more than a masterfully engineered biological machine. And Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling, 2016) serves as a delightful tour guide to nearly every component, protuberance, and crevice of it: skin, brain, sensory apparatus, heart, blood, bones, lungs, guts, immune system, genitourinary organs. Sleep, memory, hormones, pain, and aging are also explored. Peculiar bodily functions hiccups, yawning, crying are examined. We produce three types of tears (lubricating, reflex, and emotional). We blink about 14,000 times a day. The plethora of facts presented runs the gamut from mind-boggling to bizarre. A teaspoon of human blood contains around 25-billion erythrocytes. A typical American will eat about 60 tons (yes, tons!) of food during a lifetime. At the other end, an adult will eliminate roughly 180 pounds of poop annually. The runty Y chromosome has been shrinking for millions of years. Fifty-nine elements are necessary to build a body. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorous make up about 99-percent of it, but would you have guessed a bit of tin and zirconium are necessary, too? Bryson's splendid stroll through human anatomy, physiology, evolution, and illness (diabetes, cancer, infections) is instructive, accessible, and entertaining.--Tony Miksanek Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"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. (Oct.)"
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Includes bibliographical references and index.