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The unseen body : a doctor's journey through the hidden wonders of human anatomy
2021
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Library Journal Review
Reisman, a white American internist and naturalist, takes readers on a journey through the human body, with intriguing narratives about anatomy and treating patients around the world. Each chapter focuses on one part of human anatomy (skin; the lungs), its role, and what happens when it doesn't function. Within these chapters, Reisman recounts practicing medicine outside the continental U.S. (working at an Iñupiat clinic in Arctic Alaska; studying altitude-induced headaches in Nepal) and shares his discoveries about the human body and its connections to the rest of the natural world; this is where the book's greatest value lies. Reisman's passion and inquisitiveness are engaging even when topics turn to feces and cadavers, but readers should be warned about the book's detailed descriptions of invasive procedures. VERDICT An engaging book likely to pique the curiosity of readers interested in a wide range of medical conditions or naturalistic medicine.--Rich McIntyre Jr., UConn Health Sciences Lib., Farmington
Publishers Weekly Review
In this ambitious if uneven debut, physician and naturalist Reisman offers a "behind-the-scenes look at life itself" via an odyssey through the human body. Accompanied by stories from his experience practicing medicine around the world--"from a clinic in high-altitude Nepal to an emergency room in Arctic Alaska"--each chapter considers a different part of human anatomy to highlight "how those parts compose a whole." Rather than feature case studies of the sensational oddities, Reisman focuses on the more pedestrian cases that make up the bulk of his career as a generalist--such as "battling the fallout of the throat's flawed design" in caring for a patient with pneumonia, or walking a middle-aged man through his first heart attack. A particulary striking chapter on feces sees Reisman bluntly challenges taboos surrounding human excrement with the story of a patient whose debilitating diarrhea was treated with an experimental fecal transplant. Notwithstanding the deep curiosity driving his narrative, though, Reisman often slips into clichéd musings--for instance, in an essay on genitalia, he concludes with his own child's birth, making the trite observation that "nothing would ever be the same." Though its author is clearly well traveled, this work mostly treads familiar territory. (Oct.)
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