9780385501286

Postcards from the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds

ISBN 10: 0385501285 / 0-385-50128-5
ISBN 13: 9780385501286
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:

The human brain may be the single most complex object in the universe, and one of the most difficult to access. But in the nineteenth century, ever-curious men of science set out to penetrate the dark mysteries of the mind, searching for answers to the question: What makes one man a genius and another a criminal? In short time, their search became a magnificent obsession.

In Postcards from the Brain Museum, author Brian Burrell traces the history of this fascination as he tells the incredible true story of science’s attempt to locate the anatomical signs of brilliance, madness, and cruelty. In elegant prose, Burrell focuses on the posthumous sagas of brains belonging to notorious criminals and to such luminary leaders and thinkers as Albert Einstein, Walt Whitman, and Vladimir Lenin, revealing the peculiar mania of the scientists who dissected the specimens and the sometimes cruel fates of the brains themselves.

As Burrell follows this quixotic trail of geniuses and madmen, traveling around the globe to visit the collections of brains now gathering dust in their jars, he struggles to locate the point at which science begins and obsession leaves off. In the process, he unearths a forgotten byway in the history of science—a mesmerizing tale of colorful eccentrics bent on laying bare the secrets of the human mind. The final result is an enlightening account that is sometimes ghoulish, often bizarre, and thoroughly compelling.


Review:

"A broad and revealing study of a little-known and often unflattering chapter of science."

Kirkus, 10/15/2004

Review:

"[Burrell's] engaging account earns a place next to...[Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould] on any science reader's bookshelf." (starred review)

Publishers Weekly, 10/18/2004

 

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Postcards from the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds (ISBN: 0385501285 / 0-385-50128-5)
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