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Heart

A History
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (144 ratings)
Regular price: $34.99
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Publisher's Summary

For centuries, the human heart seemed beyond our understanding: an inscrutable shuddering mass that was somehow the driver of emotion and the seat of the soul. As cardiologist and best-selling author Sandeep Jauhar tells in The Heart, it was only recently that we demolished age-old taboos and devised the transformative procedures that changed the way we live.

Deftly alternating between historical episodes and his own work, Jauhar tells the colorful and little known story of the doctors who risked their careers and the patients who risked their lives to know and heal our most vital organ, braiding those tales of discovery, hubris, and sorrow with moving accounts of the patients he's treated over the years. He also confronts the limits of medical technology, boldly arguing that future progress will depend more on how we choose to live than on the devices we invent. Affecting and engaging, The Heart takes the full measure of the only organ that can move itself.

©2018 Sandeep Jauhar (P)2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating Insight

Dr. Jauhar has written an engaging book about the history of the heart and cardiology, focusing largely on the advances in the last 150 years but including references throughout history. I'm likely the target audience for this book: someone with little knowledge of medicine (I'm a musician) but curious about how life works.

The book is filled with many interesting medical personalities and their often crazy quests for answers to the mysteries of the heart. Dr. Jauhar begins most chapters with a personal anecdote and then relates it to a point of historical importance. The writing is clear and understandable to the layman for the most part, with a notable exception for the chapter discussing electrocardiology, which threatened to derail my progress. I pushed on, however, and the rest of the book returned to clarity.

I bought the book because I heard an interview on NPR with Dr. Jauhar. He discussed his grandfather's death from a heart attack and how it has haunted him throughout his life. With a history of cardiac arrest in my own family, I felt a draw to the subject material. I found many answers that I didn't know I was looking for.

Mr. Lawlor does a fine job in his performance, though I find he has a tendency to overpronounce everything, like he's trying to make a monologue clear to the back of a theater instead of simply reading to someone at close range. It felt a little harsh at times.

If you're interested in learning more about the history of cardiac medicine, I would recommend this as a great place to start.

58 of 59 people found this review helpful

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"It looked like a reentrant spiral wave...

Contrary to what people think, physicians are good communicators, writers and many are astute journalists. Writing not only creates a record but a way in which to see, understand and reflect on all that we do. This includes the field of research and Sandeep Jauhar who has become quite a prominent voice in medicine regales us with “Heart: A History.” He weaves the tale expertly---as if he were creating a biography on this wonderful organ.

"It looked like a reentrant spiral wave, the signature of the heart's death...my head was spinning."
---Sandeep Jauhar

Jauhar is blatantly honest and he starts out with his own medical file and is transparent as glass. This book is personal and Sandeep connects with his audience---as only a specialist can. The journey starts off with a family member that was suffering from a heart condition and the description of the heart as an “untouchable” organ is truly poetic in this read.

The geography of the heart is sublime. Highly placed and, in the center, giving us a clear visual of its glory. Heart disease---still remains the leading cause of death and it’s important that we care for this beating miracle. Over 100 years of heart history is discussed. His time with cardiology giants (eccentric ones) like Shapiro and his description is comical “he had a canine appearance” or looked like a “bearded art carnie.”

Any physician should make a point of reading this book and it’s not necessarily geared for non-medical healthcare workers. Nice read and challenging. Cardiology is fast paced and different compared to the diagnosticians of neurology. The heart is the center and greatness emanates from here, starting with this small spark and traveling throughout to harmonize the senses. Heart health comes from the many social connections, lifestyle and the exchanges we have with others. Buy and breathe deeply.

39 of 47 people found this review helpful

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a good easy to understand history

although a complex medical story, the author makes it personal, which allows listener to follow along.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Now I want to listen again!

This book is so easy to understand. I appreciate the simple, complexity! Now I want to listen again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting if you can get past the narration.

Writing is nice, content is intriguing, narration is dry and robotic. I was constantly distracted by how irritating the narration is and the temptation to return the book because of it. He reads certain quotes in an even more affected voice, almost an accent, that is like nails on a chalkboard. It just sounds so fake, with no natural lilt, and nearly monotone. If you can get past how awful it is, it's a well written book that is fairly easy to read and full of fascinating information. Details about the author's own journey help make the book read more like a novel and feel more relatable. The explanations of the anatomy and physiology are pretty elementary, so may be slightly tedious for those already well educated; however, the history is thorough and the inclusion of a psychological perspective (human perception of the heart) is unique and worthwhile.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful