The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
By Sam Kean (Hardcover Book, 2014)
From the author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, tales of the brain and the history of neuroscience.

Early studies of the functions of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike-strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, lobotomies, horrendous accidents-and see how the victim coped. In many cases survival was miraculous, and observers could only marvel at the transformations that took place afterward, altering victims' personalities. An injury to one section can leave a person unable to recognize loved ones; some brain trauma can even make you a pathological gambler, pedophile, or liar. But a few scientists realized that these injuries were an opportunity for studying brain function at its extremes. With lucid explanations and incisive wit, Sam Kean explains the brain's secret passageways while recounting forgotten stories of common people whose struggles, resiliency, and deep humanity made modern neuroscience possible.
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $27.00 US/$30.00 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316182348

    • On Sale Date: 05/06/2014

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Electronic Book, Audiobook

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From the author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, tales of the brain and the history of neuroscience.

Early studies of the functions of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike-strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, lobotomies, horrendous accidents-and see how the victim coped. In many cases survival was miraculous, and observers could only marvel at the transformations that took place afterward, altering victims' personalities. An injury to one section can leave a person unable to recognize loved ones; some brain trauma can even make you a pathological gambler, pedophile, or liar. But a few scientists realized that these injuries were an opportunity for studying brain function at its extremes. With lucid explanations and incisive wit, Sam Kean explains the brain's secret passageways while recounting forgotten stories of common people whose struggles, resiliency, and deep humanity made modern neuroscience possible.

Sam Kean is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist, and has been featured on NPR's "Radiolab" and "All Things Considered."
  • Praise for The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons:

    "This is Sam Kean's finest work yet, an entertaining and offbeat history of the brain populated with mad scientists, deranged criminals, geniuses, and wretched souls. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is one of those books that will have you following your friends around, reading passages out loud, until they snatch the book away from you and read it for themselves. Good luck getting it back." (Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist).

  • "Put your Netflix queue on hold. Sam Kean's The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons will command your full attention from the first page. It's not just an engaging guide to mysteries of existence; it's compelling story-telling for anyone with a taste for the bizarre and metaphysical." (William Poundstone, author of Rock Breaks Scissors).

  • "In tale after tale, best-selling author Kean  provides a fascinating, and at times gloriously gory, look at how early efforts in neurosurgery were essentially a medical guessing game.... Entertaining and quotable, Kean's writing is sharp, and each individual story brings the history of neuroscience to life. Compulsively readable, wicked scientific fun." (Kirkus).

  • "Strokes, seizures, accidents: if they don't kill, they can traumatize the brain so badly that an individual's personality can be significantly changed. But, explains New York Times best-selling author of the terrific The Violinist's Thumb, early neuroscientists saw such traumas as an opportunity to study the brain's wondrous workings." (Library Journal, "Barbara's Picks").

  • Praise for The Violinist's Thumb:

    Named one of Entertainment Weekly's Best Books of 2012; one of Amazon's Best Books of the Year; and a Publishers Weekly Editors Pick

  • "Kean's accessible genetic overview, written for the layman, is often as simple and elegant as a double helix." -- Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly

  • "Kean is one of America's smartest and most charming science writers, and his new book could be perfect for summer readers who prefer some substance with their fun." -- Michael Schaub, National Public Radio

  • "The wonderful thing about Kean...is his ability to focus on a spiraling narrative while he climbs up the double-helix ladder in this history of genetics, remaining more of less at the center of the rungs while he goes from the struggles of Mendel and Miescher to the Human Genome Project....It is a handsome story." -- Jimmy So, Daily Beast

  • "The DNA molecule, Kean asserts, is the 'grand narrative of human existence'-and he boldly sets out to tell the tale, not only explaining genetics and its scientific history but linking Mendel's pea shoots to the evolution of early humans....He's crafted a lively read packed with unforgettable details." -- Sarah Zhang, Discover

  • "Kean turns his clever eye and engaging prose to unveiling the secrets of our DNA." -- Denver Post

  • "Kean offers up strange stories of how our genes help and hinder us." -- Newsweek, "Brainy Beach Reads"

  • "Science is made fun whenever best-selling author Kean...is narrating." -- Susannah Cahalan, New York Post

  • "Sam Kean educates readers about a facet of science with wonderfully witty prose and enthralling anecdotes....Kean's thoughtful, humorous book is a joy to read." -- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

  • "Kean's real knack is for digging up strange details most textbooks leave out....More than an assortment of trivia, the book is an engaging history." -- Allison Bohac, Science News

  • "A science journalist with a flair for words...[Kean's] language is fluid and accessible, even for the science-challenged." -- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

  • "Sam Kean's tribute to the periodic table, "The Disappearing Spoon," was heaped with praise a couple of years ago, and a similar reception awaits his book about genetics and its effects on our past, present and future." -- MSNBC.com

Formats

Product Details

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $27.00 US/$30.00 CAN
  • Pages: 416
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316182348
  • On Sale Date: 05/06/2014
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons