On Being Born and Other Difficulties

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Overlook Press, 2004 - Medical - 217 pages
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There is no theme more central to human life on earth than birth (unless it is its natural counterpart, death). With a pathologist's trained eye for observation of detail and a style unrivaled in elegance and wit, F. Gonzalez-Crussi, author of The Five Senses, reflects on the largest of topics, those in which science, religion, and philosophy brush most closely together, such as the origin of life in the universe, the complex evolution of human sexuality, and the debate over when the soul is acquired. Drawing on a variety of sources spanning the fields of biology, literature, history, myth, medicine, and philosophy, On Being Born and Other Difficulties surveys a vast field of opinions and theories, contrasting the supremely rational processes by which we evolved on this planet with our irrational and often bizarre attempts to understand them. Gonzalez-Crussi traces millennia of misunderstandings to their sources - Aristotle, Hippocrates, Descartes, Sir Thomas Browne, Cervantes, Rabelais, Maupassant, and Nietzsche, among others - engaging them with precision, humour, and humanity. With its unparalleled depth and insight, On Being Born and Other Difficulties is a profoundly entertaining work of the highest literary calibre.

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ON BEING BORN: and Other Difficulties

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A collection of elegant and engrossing essays on the theme of birth.González-Crussi (Emeritus, Pathology/Northwestern Univ. Medical School; Suspended Animation, 1995, etc.) blends literature and ... Read full review

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User Review  - eleanorigby - LibraryThing

A profound book reflecting on the state of birth and life. Read full review


Believe only the Delivery
Saga of the Womb or the Perils of the Mother

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About the author (2004)

F. Gonzalez-Crussi, M.D., is the head of laboratories at the Children's Memorial Hospital and a professor of pathology at Northwestern University. He is the author of Notes of an Anatomist, Three Forms of Sudden Death, On the Nature of Things Erotic, The Five Senses, The Day of the Dead, and Suspended Animation. He lives in Chicago.

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