Books to the Sky

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.” ― Arnold Lobel

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

on December 7, 2015


The current state of neuroscience is amazing. So many conditions can be treated that used to be considered hopeless. New treatments for old conditions emerge more and more often. In October 2015, an active brain surgery to reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease was aired live on television. Everyone knows that this level of knowledge wasn’t achieved overnight, but how much do we know about the journey?

One thing has held true over the years: progress is messy. Sam Kean takes us through the history of that messy progress in a wonderful way. Through intriguing true stories, Kean maps out the route neuroscience has taken to get to present day marvels. Amongst the plethora of intriguing stops are: the clashing camps of scientists arguing over whether neurons were in a huge net or had gaps for the signals to cross, the knowledge gained from WWI amputations regarding the brain’s sense of self, the discovery of the cannibal disease kuru, Capgras syndrome where the sufferer believes people have been replaced with a double, Phineas Gage, the man who survived a pipe through his brain in 1848 but with a huge personality change, and so many more. This is a fascinating book. Sam Kean presents the stories in an engaging manner, starting each chapter with a rebus puzzle. If you’re at all interested in the little quirks and big strangeness of which the brain is capable, you’ll enjoy this book.

Due to an unfortunate conflict between the library due date and my cornea, I had to return the book before completion. At a little over the halfway mark, I am chomping at the bit to get my own copy so that I can finish the book. (Side note: be careful with disposable contact lens. Don’t wear them significantly longer than recommended. Your cornea will thank you.)


One response to “The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

  1. DLAnderson says:

    Sounds good, and I’ll read it all the way through since I do not wear my contacts to sleep!!!!!!

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