Friday, February 13, 2015 at 12:44PM
THE MAN WHO TOUCHED HIS OWN HEART
By Rob Dunn
(Little, Brown and Company - February 3, 2015)
[Kindle & Hardcover, 384 pages, $27.00 U.S. - buy for less on Amazon.com]
Did you know you’ve got about 2.5 billion heartbeats in a lifetime, barring any accidents or unusual events? That’s actually 1.5 billion heartbeats MORE than people could expect in the 1940s and before; bonus beats thanks to the success of modern public health and medicine.
The 2.5 billion beats is just one of the fascinating ideas and take-aways from The Man Who Touched His Own Heart by Rob Dunn, a professor and evolutionary biologist at North Carolina State University.
Disclosure: Midtown (Atlanta) Book Group at Barnes & Noble/Georgia Tech was fortunate to preview The Man Who Touched His Own Heart for February 2015 (Theme: Valentine’s/Hearts - of course!) and participate in the February launch of the book, with the author joining our group discussion via Skype. This review is based on the Advanced Reading Copy provided by the publisher, Little, Brown and Company.
The Man Who Touched His Own Heart is a fascinating non-fiction narrative journey through the history of the human heart and medicine. Author Rob Dunn has done a masterful job of balancing science & health issues with history & biography to offer a compelling read for a general audience, with something for everyone, both science-types and more literary-types (like myself). It is an ideal book group selection, as the subject matter and writing style will contribute to lively discussion.
The science-y, educational stuff (which, being honest, I normally tend to glaze over) is wrapped in interesting stories, colorful characters, surprising facts and sometimes-shocking information, thoroughly researched and footnoted, presented with an underlying sense of humor and, in places, irony:
“Not everything that seems like progress is progress. Not everything that can be done should be done.” – Rob Dunn, Chapter 13: The Beetle and the Cigarette
The Man Who Touched His Own Heart presents a broad spectrum of issues for consideration, including: medical motivation and ethics; the business of medicine; questionable marketing messages and “best practices”; to sticky issues of racism, sexism, discrimination and morality in the long, sometimes-sordid history of medical research.
From Galen (AD 129, patched up Gladiators, wrote a book!) to Da Vinci’s detailed studies of the heart and anatomy in the 1500s; from autopsies of the mummies of ancient Egyptians (with clear evidence of heart disease dating back thousands of years) to a German Nazi who won a Nobel Prize in 1956 for a daring experiment (on himself, before the war) and his contribution to the early development of the heart catheter; from “Heroes” like the rock star surgeons of the 1960s who were able to transplant human hearts (and before that, animal hearts, although sometimes in really horrible ways) to the “Zeroes” who spent decades researching less-sexy areas (i.e. fungi and development of statins - “industrial microbiology”) and never received the recognition they deserved (stolen by Big Pharma)...
The Man Who Touched His Own Heart is a rocket ship journey through the rapid development of science and cardiology since WWII, including pacemakers, bypass procedures, transplants and artificial hearts. It is an amazing history, one well-suited to anyone paying attention to those 2.5 billion beats in his/her own chest.
Happy Valentine's Day 2015!
While we are talking about hearts in February, please check out my new ebook on Kindle -- FREE thru February 14, 2015 --
101 Sexy & Fun Love Notes: Romantic Tips & Tricks to FIRE UP the Passion & Romance in Your Relationship! (Amazon Kindle - February 7, 2015). Download, Read, Enjoy & Review the first ebook in the new series: Rebel Housewife: Survival Guides (Surviving Happily After!).
More info on The Rebel Blog: 101 Sexy & Fun Love Notes.
[Further Disclosure: I have coordinated the Midtown Book Group at Barnes & Noble/Georgia Tech for eight years, and I am a professional book reviewer on www.RebelHousewife.com, for Amazon.com and other sources, for which I do not receive payment or compensation, other than a free book, on occasion, and affiliate links on www.RebelHousewife.com. Having disclosed the obvious perks & benefits of this situation (light sarcasm intended), I offer unbiased review, positives and negatives, although I do not typically review books I don’t enjoy or would be unable to recommend to my readers. Thank you for reading and supporting The Rebel Housewife!]