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The Wisdom of the Body / How We Live


Sherwin B. Nuland (View Bio)
Hardcover: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997; Paperback: Vintage, 1998.

The Wisdom of the Body / How We Live

"Memorable.... A unique and worthy addition to the medical classics." — Boston Globe

"Having won the National Book Award for HOW WE DIE, Nuland, humane physician and practical individual, now writes about life. This book, a prizewinner whether or not it actually wins one, conveys much information, discusses philosophical and social questions open-mindedly, and delights us withal, thanks to Nuland's dry sense of humor." — Booklist

"Dramatic, lyrical.... This book is part medical thriller...and part profession of faith in the beauty of human biology." — The Wall Street Journal

"Dr. Nuland is at his best in the narrative of hand-to-hand combat with surgically correctable disease.... The work of Dr. Nuland is an important step toward the creation of a biomedically literate public that is able to influence policy on matters of biological importance.... [He has] rewarded us with the fascinating tales of surgical pitched battle that THE WISDOM OF THE BODY doles out generously, in every chapter." — F. González-Crussi, The New York Times Book Review

"Awe-inspiring and sublimely uplifting.... An anatomy of human life, vividly illustrated." — Time

"From the author of the National Book Award-winning HOW WE DIE, another eloquent, thought-provoking dissertation, this time on what we are. Having clarified the mysterious process of dying in his previous, best-selling book, surgeon Nuland now explores the wondrous miracle of living. The essence of human life for Nuland is the human spirit, a quality that is inseparable from the body. To understand the human spirit, one must look at the human body. Nuland does this with style. After opening with a dramatic demonstration of a body responding to a life-threatening event, in this case an aneurysm of the splenic artery, he considers each of the body's diverse processes, explaining their workings in clear and precise language. Each chapter is both a lucid anatomy or physiology lecture and a compelling story of a challenge to the organ or system being described.... He saves the mind for last, describing it as a property of 'unimaginable glory' which brings him back to the human spirit...'There is no need to invoke either a higher power or magic. We need only invoke what is in our human cells — the highest power and the greatest magic that has ever awed a wonder-struck observer of its magnificence.' To read this book is to share his awe." — Kirkus Reviews

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