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Hardcover Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story about Brain Science Book

ISBN: 0618052526

ISBN13: 9780618052523

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story about Brain Science

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

An ALA Notable Children's Book and Best Book for Young Adults Guggenheim Fellow John Fleischman separates fact from legend in this delightfully gruesome tale about Phineas Gage, the man with the hole... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Interesting book

The book about Phineas Gage is an exciting part of history to learn. It was an awful thing that happened to this poor man but, despite the horrible occurrence, Phineas helps progress science in a way he most likely never imagined.

Very informative-kind of boring

This book gives a lot of insight and background on the medical history and events that surround Phineas Gage's accident. Chapter 4 could have been omitted. It didn't seem to have a lot of relevance to the overall Phineas Gage story.

a great non-fiction book for everyone!

I just finished reading this book with a 12-year old middle schooler. Both of us loved every page of this book and the incredible story of Phineas Gage. As a undergrad student majoring in psychology, I also found this book to be quite fascinating, as it goes into more depth over the life of this extraordinary man who survived such a freak accident. The book is perfect for young adults as it is a work of non-fiction of the highest quality. It seems like there aren't enough non-fiction books out there today that are geared towards young readers. It is a great introduction to major topics in biology including bacteria, organization of cells, as well as an in-depth discussion of the brain. Definitely a great book for psychology and biology students alike!

It puts the "me" in "gruesome"

As a children's librarian, I do a lot of booktalks in area schools. In a typical booktalk I will stand up with a pile of books at my side and try by any means necessary to get kids interested in reading. Such an effort can cause a librarian a fair amount of strain and sometimes we'll stoop mighty low to get children hooked. Enter "Phineas Gage". By and large, non-fiction titles are the hardest ones to sell to kids. You tell a ten-year-old that you have a story about a boy who finds a mysterious dragon's egg and you'll probably have a convert before you've uttered so much as ten sentences. But if you hold in your hot little hand an item that contains actual FACTS.... usually you're up a crik. Not in the case of Phineas. This book is so chock full of blood, splattered brains, busted skulls, and other goopy beginnings that your intended audience, whatever the age, will be hanging on your every word. For the parent that wants their child to someday become a high priced neurologist, I highly suggest that you give them a little taste of "Phineas Gage" for a starter. Now imagine that you are Mr. Gage himself. The year is 1848 and you're just an average railroad construction foreman. Your job consists of blasting rock out of the way of the construction, allowing further tracks to be laid. You're good at your job, and you've a custom-made tamping iron (thirteen-pound rod with a pointed end) to help you out. Then, on September 13, 1848, you mess up. It could happen to anyone. One moment you're putting the highly combustible blasting powder down a hole. The next minute you've turned your head in distraction and you've dropped your tamping iron down that selfsame hole. The iron hits a piece of granite, produces a spark, and suddenly the iron has ripped through your left cheek, gone behind your left eyeball, and come up through the top of your head. There's blood everywhere, brains on the iron, and a very surprised Phineas Gage sitting in the midst of it all. You'd think a blast like that would kill a man, right? Wrong. Phineas not only is fine, he making entries into his time book as he goes to town for the doctor. When the doctor isn't around, he then sits on the front steps of a nearby hotel and has a lengthy conversation with his landlord. All the while there's blood everywhere and a clear view into Phineas's head to his brains. And is Phineas completely unchanged by the experience? Not quite. Though he lives for quite some time after the accident, Phineas suddenly is bereft of all his social skills. Why is this? What does it mean about the brain itself? And why did Phineas live? Like I said, there's gore galore in this puppy. But better yet, there's a lot of sound scientific information for questioning young minds. For those kids more interested in the accident itself, Phineas's skull is displayed throughout the book. You can clearly make out where the hole once was, as well as how it healed over time. Digitally rende

A fascinating quick read!

John Fleischman does an excellent job of telling the story of Phineas Gage along with wonderful photographs that add to the understanding of what happened to him. His descriptions help children and adults understand more about how the brain works, and how Phineas' brain was changed by his accident. I wish I had read this book in college when I was taking courses in Psychological Anatomy... this is so much easier to read and comprehend. An incredible story that will make you want to visit Harvard Medical School to view the skull and tamping iron yourself!

"His closest companion was an iron rod."

Well, that will teach me not to read the entire review of a book before sending for it! Not that I'm complaining about the book...I thought it was for adults. It's not really, though I can see using it for reading and science literacy for deaf adults.This is a great book. The explanations concerning what happened to Mr. Gage, and the science behind his medical recovery and subsequent personality problems is fairly well covered. There is a great glossary in the back with more information concerning terminology used in 'brain science' such as abscess and neurotransmitters that can be used as a jumping point for students to do their own research into areas that interest them, whether on the Internet or in libraries. I kind of skimmed through the text. Most of it was stuff I've had over exposure to. The text is well written, just more simple than I am used to reading. Fleischman writes very tongue-in-cheek (come to think of it, Gage couldn't do that for a while on one side!). I appreciate Fleischman's humor, and I am sure most teachers and students will find it refreshing from boring textbooks written by professors or publishing houses. The science is correct in this book, which I am finding is often NOT the case in textbooks...so maybe teachers should stop using textbooks and use books such as this, journals and the Internet! My favorite part of this book, of course, are the pictures, the MRI scans, the reconstitution of his brain within his skull using modern techniques. Very fun to see all this together. Gage is learned about in every neuroscience class I had from an undergrad to graduate level. We talk about the fact that he survived this stunning blow, about his personality changes in neuropsychiatric classes, about possible relations between other disorders such as autism and what happened in lobotomies (ugh!...). Everyone in Neuroscience knows about Gage. He is fascinating to the point of remembering his name when we can't remember names of past acquaintances.Fun book, good science, great pictures, a good introduction for kids to neuroscience.Karen Sadler,Science Education,University of Pittsburgh

Science Made Irresistible

This is one compelling and very entertaining read, albeit not for the squeamish. While aimed at kids, adults will find it equally fascinating. It has all the elements of a wild work of fiction, yet it's an eyepoppingly true story--just try and put it down once you've opened it. It's great to see factual science presented in such a winning, approachable style. After ordering a copy for my biology-minded kids, we thought so highly of it that we got a copy to donate to our local library as well. Highly recommended.
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