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

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Viking, 2003 - Science - 342 pages
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A witty and informed survey, Adam's Navelis a unique brew of science, history, and storytelling that illuminates our perception, exploitation, and celebration of the human body.

Moving from head to toe in twelve chapters, Michael Sims blends cultural history with evolutionary theory to produce a wonderfully original narrative. "No part of the body lacks a story," writes Sims, who analyzes and demystifies the visible parts of the body that make up the whole-our animal form that is also a screen onto which we project our fears and obsessions. He tells of dreadlocks and Achilles' heel, of fingerprints and penis size. He discusses the history of breastfeeding, the allure of navel rings, ancient rules for shaking hands, why nature builds men and women on a female body plan, and how the evolution of our two-legged stance affects childbirth and back pain.

Drawing on evolution and the mechanics of human anatomy, along with Shakespeare, mythology, film, and popular culture, Sims creates a marvelous new lens through which to view this body that we inhabit almost unconsciously. Adam's Navelis a field guide to the landscape of ourselves.

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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


The Form Complete
Skin Deep
The NotQuiteNaked

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About the author (2003)

Michael Sims has written about science, culture, and the arts for newspapers, magazines, and radio, and has worked as a researcher and editor. He is also the author of Darwin's Orchestra: An Almanac of Nature in History and the Arts.

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