The Unseen Body

The Unseen Body: A Doctor’s Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy by Jonathan Reisman 2021

About the Author
Jonathan Reisman M.D. is the author of The Unseen Body, a journey through the human body and across the globe that weaves together stories about our internal organs with a unique perspective on life, culture and the natural world. He is a doctor of internal medicine and pediatrics, as well as a naturalist, adventure traveler, forager, foodie, and teacher of wilderness survival and prehistoric crafts, and his offbeat writing combines all of these passions. He has practiced medicine in some of the world’s most remote places – in the Arctic, aboard a ship in Antarctica, high in the Nepali Himalayas, in urban slums of Kolkata, India and among the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and The Washington Post. He runs a non-profit to improve healthcare and education in India.

About the Book
In this fascinating journey through the human body and across the globe, Dr. Reisman weaves together stories about our insides with a unique perspective on life, culture, and the natural world.

Jonathan Reisman, M.D.―a physician, adventure traveler and naturalist―brings readers on an odyssey navigating our insides like an explorer discovering a new world with The Unseen Body. With unique insight, Reisman shows us how understanding mountain watersheds helps to diagnose heart attacks, how the body is made mostly of mucus, not water, and how urine carries within it a tale of humanity’s origins.

Through his offbeat adventures in healthcare and travel, Reisman discovers new perspectives on the body: a trip to the Alaskan Arctic reveals that fat is not the enemy, but the hero; a stint in the Himalayas uncovers the boundary where the brain ends and the mind begins; and eating a sheep’s head in Iceland offers a lesson in empathy. By relating rich experiences in far-flung lands and among unique cultures back to the body’s inner workings, he shows how our organs live inextricably intertwined lives―an internal ecosystem reflecting the natural world around us.

Reisman offers a new and deeply moving perspective, and helps us make sense of our bodies and how they work in a way readers have never before imagined.

“A fascinating, lyrical book… Reisman’s experiences in other cultures bring a richness and depth to The Unseen Body. The way he thinks about the body and medicine―the rivers and tributaries, the flowing and unclogging, the top-down organization of the brain―is extraordinary!”
―Mary Roach

“An elegant, elegiac, and deeply enjoyable meander through human anatomy by way of brain-tanned buckskin, blood as the last, salty remnant of life’s oceanic origins, and the World Testicle Cooking Championships. The images Reisman conjures will linger long after you’ve devoured his delightful prose.”
―Nicola Twilley, coauthor of Until Proven Safe and cohost of Gastropod

“Terrific, memorable, original, and full of information that informs one’s understanding not only of the body but also of what has stopped us from knowing more. There is palpable joy at learning in Reisman’s writing, and readers will know him as an individual whose humility and empathy are as impressive as his adventurous, travel-hungry spirit.”
―Kenneth S. Brecher, cultural anthropologist and author of Too Sad to Sing

“Through his acute and extensive observations of the seen world of nature and human nature, Reisman illuminates the analogous workings of our unseen bodies. An Alexander von Humboldt of the human body, Reisman’s comparisons give us an ingenious perspective from which to understand the ways our internal organs function alone and together. I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in understanding
and appreciating the marvels of the human body.”
―Warren Zapol, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, Antarctic researcher, and inventor

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