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Patient H. M. : A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Hardcover) (Luke Dittrich)

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“Oliver Sacks meets Stephen King”* in this propulsive, haunting journey into the life of the most studied human research subject of all time, the amnesic known as Patient H.M. For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes a story that has much to teach us about our relentless pursuit of knowledge.Winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize WinnerNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BYThe Washington Post • New York Post • NPR • The Economist • New York • Wired • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison—who suffered from severe epilepsy—received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy, targeting the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry was left profoundly amnesic, unable to create long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H.M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who would teach us much of what we know about memory today. Patient H.M. is, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison—and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation—experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves. Dittrich uses the case of Patient H.M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons, as they called themselves, conducted their human experiments, and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.Praise for Patient H.M.“An exciting, artful blend of family and medical history.”The New York Times“In prose both elegant and intimate, and often thrilling, Patient H.M. is an important book about the wages not of sin but of science.”The Washington Post“Spellbinding . . . The fact that Dittrich looks critically at the act
Number of Pages: 440.0
Genre: Science, Medical, Biography + Autobiography
Sub-Genre: History, Medical
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House Inc
Author: Luke Dittrich
Language: English
Street Date: August 9, 2016
TCIN: 51133497
UPC: 9780812992731
Item Number (DPCI): 248-16-0800

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