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What Jenni Said About “The Body”: Glorious Detail

With "The Body", Bryson has done for our flesh houses within which we reside what he previously did for our brick and mortar ones in his book "At Home".  We have been treated to a full walk-through of the entire human body and all its functionality, in glorious detail. Bryson's language is beautiful and at times also mystical in its descriptiveness:

"You have a meter of it [DNA] packed into every cell, and so many cells that if you formed all the DNA in your body into a single strand, it would stretch ten billion miles, to beyond Pluto. Think of it: there is enough of you to leave the solar system. You are in the most literal sense cosmic."

Perhaps what I love most about "The Body" is the detailed narrative Bryson provides on so many key people in the history of medicine, infectious diseases, anatomy, etc. Many of these people I'd never heard of before and it was enlightening to read their fascinating (and often sad) stories. It seems there is a lot of drama and intrigue in the world of medicine.

As with all books on science and medicine, some portions of the text are outdated. For example, Bryson writes that we have no idea what the full mechanism causing labor to begin for a pregnant woman involves. Only, the thing is,  now we do. Per some of the medical research of late, it seems to be induced by chemicals the fetus releases after their lungs are fully developed. So, as you read, should you come across one of his statements that science still hasn't figured out X yet, go ahead and google it because it's entirely possible that science has actually figured it out by the time you've sat down to read the book. 

This is probably my favorite book by Bryson, outside of Notes from a Small Island. I recommend it highly as an addition to your library. A good read for young adults as well.

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