Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form

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Penguin, 2004 - Science - 342 pages
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In this amusing and brilliantly conceived book, Michael Sims introduces you to your body. Moving from head to toe, Sims blends cultural history with evolutionary theory to produce a wonderfully original narrative in which he analyzes the visible parts of the body. In this fascinating brew of science and storytelling, readers encounter not only accessible explanations of the mechanics of their anatomy, but also the layers of mythology, religious lore, history, Darwinian theory, and popular culture that have helped to shape our understanding of any given body part. A titillating and unique book, Adam's Navel is learned and entertaining, a marvelous lens through which to study the form we all inhabit—but may not really understand.

 

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Adam's navel: a natural and cultural history of the human form

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Sims (Darwin's Orchestra), who has written about science, culture, and the arts for various publications, here systematically assesses the exterior parts of the human form from head to toe ... Read full review

Contents

The Form Complete
1
Skin Deep
9
Headquarters
19
The NotQuiteNaked Ape
21
FacetoFace
44
The Vigilant Eye
56
Houdinis Wiggle
80
A Ridiculous Organ
94
The Weight of the World
135
Arms and the Man
137
The Monkeys Paw
147
Madonna del Latte
187
Adams Navel
213
A Leg to Stand On
227
Privy Members
229
Our Steed the Leg
269

The Archaic Smile
102

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About the author (2004)

Michael Sims is the author most recently of In the Womb: Animals (adapted from two National Geographic Channel documentaries); he is also the author of Apollo's Fire: A Journey through the Extraordinary Wonders of an Ordinary Day, which NPR chose as one of the best science books of 2007; Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Science Book; and Darwin's Orchestra: An Almanac of Nature in History and the Arts. For Penguin Classics he also edited The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel and Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, and he is currently editing The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime. He has written for many periodicals, from the Washington Post to New Statesman.

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