A Left Hand Turn Around the World: Chasing the Mystery and Meaning of All Things Southpaw

ISBN 10: 0306814986 / ISBN 13: 9780306814983
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Synopsis: Traveling from the halls of history to the halls of science, Wolman explores a Scottish castle designed for left-handed swordfights, visits a Paris museum to inspect nineteenth-century brains that hold clues to this biological puzzle, and observes chimps with a primatologist in Atlanta who may help unravel the evolutionary mystery of left-handedness. Along the way, Wolman meets fellow left-handers who share his sense of kinship and reveal the essence of Southpaw. There is sinister Diabolos Rex, follower of the Left Hand Path; and John Evans, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. In Japan, Wolman tees off with the National Association of Left-Handed Golfers and seeks wisdom from a left-handed baseball legend. A seamless blend of science, travel, culture, and humor, this inquisitive exploration of all things Southpaw is sure to be the perfect book for lefties and for all the righties who love them.

Review: Far more detailed than a typical collection of left-handed trivia, David Wolman's Left-Hand Turn Around The World examines 200 years of anatomy in a search for the roots of hand preference. The results are surprising, and perhaps a bit disappointing to anyone who prefers believing "left-handed people are the only ones in their right minds".

Wolman travels the world for answers, from a mildly gruesome visit to Broca's bottled brains in a Paris museum to the latest Berkeley research labs. Throughout the journey, the science is as accessible as any animal documentary and as well-documented as any rigorous reader will demand. Included in the mix are a trip to a graphologist's convention and a visit with a gentleman whose handedness is the result of surgically combining his left hand with his right arm. Wolman's Fulbright fellowship-winning reporting is always clear and entertaining—he has a fine knack for presenting complex theories in direct, dryly amusing language. He frequently inserts himself into the research, in one case borrowing his nephew for a visit with a pediatric neuropsychologist.

With the most recent research offering the theory that strength of hand preference is more important than the actual hand preferred, the final conclusion could be an eye opener to those who prefer the old ideas that lefties are more creative, athletic, artistic and generally more wonderful. As Wolman says in conclusion, you can still says lefties are special, because they are. Jill Lightner

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Title: A Left Hand Turn Around the World: Chasing ...
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