Anyone looking at the list of books I review will know that anatomy and the human body are quite high up my list of reading interest – this is a very different style of writing on the topic.
Bryson is classified, I think, loosely, as a travel writer, and I suppose this is a travel guide around the human body from a lay perspective. At 380 pages its not short, but its both informative and slightly wry in its journey – a technical work its not, but as a lay guide it works well with whimsical fact and well honed explanation.
Despite being a connoisseur of more technical writings, I found things of interest in here, and I would certainly endorse this book to anyone looking to understand their corporeal home just that little bit more.
Reading Bryson’s section on pandemics is somewhat unnerving:
When I met Washington University’s Michael Kinch, I asked him what he believed was the greatest disease risk to us now. “Flu”, he said without hesitation. “Flu is way more dangerous than people think… … it also evolves rapidly and that’s what makes it especially dangerous”
“The fact is” he says “we are really no better prepared for a bad outbreak today than we were when Spanish flu killed tens of millions of people a hundred years ago. The reason we haven’t had another experience like that isn’t because we have been especially vigilant. Its because we have been lucky”
All in all a book that’s worth a read.