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

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

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. With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain's secret passageways.
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Publisher's Summary

The author of the best seller 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 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.

*"The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" refers to the case of French king Henri II, who in 1559 was lanced through the skull during a joust, resulting in one of the most significant cases in neuroscience history. For hundreds of years scientists have gained important lessons from traumatic accidents and illnesses, and such misfortunes still represent their greatest resource for discovery.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.


©2014 Sam Kean (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

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4.2 (38 )
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4.3 (36 )
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  •  
    Kenn 08-16-14
    Kenn 08-16-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Facinating and engaging"
    Where does The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was one of my favorite books to listen to. The story is told with humour and a keen eye to the incredible reality of these tales.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth of the stories told. They were all so very facinating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Richmond, VA, USA 07-31-14
    Roberta Richmond, VA, USA 07-31-14 Member Since 2008

    Vassar graduate, living in Mexico and retired.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    79
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "witty, delightful and informative"

    Nonfiction works like this keep me hooked on audio books. The Narrator does an outstanding job. The material is scientific, but the author adds fascinating history and amusing anecdotes to make it interesting and humorous. The Narrator captures every bit of the humor with just the right timing and delivery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela LORTON, VA, United States 07-27-14
    Angela LORTON, VA, United States 07-27-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons the most enjoyable?

    There are very few books that merit a 5 star rating. There are even fewer narrations of books that deserve 5 star ratings. This book is that delicious juxtaposition of incredible narration and tight, well-paced writing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I disliked that it ended so soon. I also wish the author had delved further into some of the cases to give the reader a deeper glimpse into the patients' regular lives


    What about Henry Leyva’s performance did you like?

    Excellent, well-paced narration. Neither breathy nor dramatic, Mr Leyva imparted just the right gravitas for the subject matter.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Other than a documentary, this book wouldn't translate into film.


    Any additional comments?

    This author and narrator have an excellent thing going. I hope they work together in future, and that the author write more on this topic. The author makes the subject matter accessible to regular minds like mine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Jerome, ID, United States 07-30-14
    Marie Jerome, ID, United States 07-30-14 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dueling Neurosurgeons"
    Would you listen to The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons again? Why?

    Yes, the tale gives insight to the world of scientific medicine competition


    What did you like best about this story?

    What the doctors did to get around each other, it is still happening today.


    What does Henry Leyva bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Henry Leyva is very good, to compare to reading yourself is like comparing apples and oranges. Audio books are great when one does not have the time or maybe the eye sight to sit and read as much as one would like.
    I have been listening to audio books since the early nineties.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This a book you to listen to in section.


    Any additional comments?

    Over all a great read

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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