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The tale of the dueling neurosurgeons : the history of the human brain as revealed by true stories of trauma, madness, and recovery / Sam Kean.

  • Kean, Sam
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Dueling neurosurgeons
History of the human brain


Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike--strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents--and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing. Sam Kean explains the brain's secret passageways and recounts forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made modern neuroscience possible.--From publisher description.


New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2014.

Physical description

407 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm



First edition.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 383-395) and index.


Gross anatomy. The dueling neurosurgeons -- Cells, senses, circuits. The assassin's soup ; Wiring and rewiring ; Facing brain damage -- Body and brain. The brain's motor ; The laughing disease ; Sex and punishment -- Beliefs and delusions. The sacred disease ; "Sleights of mind" -- Consciousness. Honest lying ; Left, right, and center ; The man, the myth, the legend.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    PI /KEA
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780316182348
  • 0316182346