The author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon reveals the
secret inner workings of the brain through strange but true stories.
Early studies of the human
brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike—strokes, seizures,
infectious diseases, horrendous accidents—and see how victims coped. In many
cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the
transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were
destroyed, altering victims’ personalities. Parents suddenly couldn’t recognize
their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some
people couldn’t speak but could still sing.
In The Tale of
the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological
curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients’
memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these
narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story
of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident
that inspired this book’s title. With the lucid, masterful explanations and
razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain’s secret
passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose
struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible. Download and start listening now!