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Extended Audio Sample The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery, by Rob Dunn Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rob Dunn Narrator: Robert Fass Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The secret history of our most vital organ—the human heart

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart tells the raucous, gory, and mesmerizing story of the heart, from the first “explorers” who dug up cadavers and plumbed their hearts’ chambers, through the first heart surgeries—which had to be completed in three minutes before death arrived—to heart transplants and the latest medical efforts to prolong our hearts’ lives, almost defying nature in the process.

Thought of as the seat of our soul, then as a mysteriously animated object, the heart is still more a mystery than it is understood. Why do most animals only get one billion beats? How did modern humans get to over two billion beats—effectively letting us live out two lives? Why are sufferers of gingivitis more likely to have heart attacks? Why do we often undergo expensive procedures when cheaper ones are just as effective? What do Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Shelley, and contemporary Egyptian archaeologists have in common? And what does it really feel like to touch your own heart or to have someone else’s beating inside your chest?

Rob Dunn’s fascinating history of our hearts brings us deep inside the science, history, and stories of the four chambers we depend on most.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Dunn’s books are always lively, informative, and full of fascinations, but The Man Who Touched His Own Heart is especially so, because he goes straight to the little-known history, medicine, and heart of our most symbolic organ.”

    Diane Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses

  • “With stories about medicine from ancient Greek and Egyptian times to the near present, this history tells the tale of an organ that keeps the beat billions of time in our lifetime.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “In this entertaining history of cardiac research and treatment, Dunn…explores the heart’s strengths and weaknesses through profiles of the notable scientists, artists, researchers, inventors, and doctors who wrestled with its mysteries…Dunn also covers advances such as bypass surgery, angioplasty, and heart-related pharmaceuticals in this eloquent appraisal of the feats that have given humans ‘a billion and half heartbeats with which to do as we please.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “These true stories about the heart pulsate with information and intrigue. Meshing medical history, biography, physiology, and evolutionary science, biologist Dunn scrutinizes a living pump that is simultaneously strong and vulnerable.”


  • “This delightful book is a page-turner, whose pulse never slows. In Dunn’s hands, the evolution and history of the human heart is as engrossing, surprising, and vital as the heart itself.”

    Dan Lieberman, Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology and author of The Story of the Human Body

  • “A perfect mix of science, history and biology, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart is a delightful page-turner that reminds us of all that we have learned by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

    Charles Nunn, Duke University professor of evolutionary anthropology and global health and author of The Evolution of Sleep

  • “A gripping drama that gallops across thousands of years and from graveyard to surgical theater to modern doctor’s office. In the process Dunn sheds light not just on our own hearts but also those of all of the other animals with which we share Earth.”

    Paul R. Ehrlich, coauthor of The Population Bomb

  • “With an interested and inquisitive tone, narrator Robert Fass walks listeners through evolutionary biologist Rob Dunn’s history of the science of the human heart… Fass has a pleasant voice and varies his delivery in ways that make the extensive information clear and engaging.”


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About the Author

Rob Dunn is an associate professor of ecology and evolution in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University. The author of The Wild Life of Our Bodies and Every Living Thing, his writing has been published in National Geographic, Natural History, New Scientist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian. Dunn holds a PhD from the University of Connecticut and was a Fulbright Fellow. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.