Adventures in Human Being (Hardcover)

A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum

By Gavin Francis

Basic Books, 9780465079681, 272pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (10/25/2016)
MP3 CD (9/20/2016)

List Price: 26.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"Adventures in Human Being, with its deft mix of the clinical and the lyrical, is a triumph of the eloquent brain and the compassionate heart." -- Wall Street Journal

We assume we know our bodies intimately, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory, an enigma of bone and muscle, neurons and synapses. How many of us understand the way seizures affect the brain, how the heart is connected to well-being, or the why the foot holds the key to our humanity? In Adventures in Human Being, award-winning author Gavin Francis leads readers on a journey into the human body, offering a guide to its inner workings and a celebration of its marvels. Drawing on his experiences as a surgeon, ER specialist, and family physician, Francis blends stories from the clinic with episodes from medical history, philosophy, and literature to describe the body in sickness and in health, in living and in dying. At its heart, Adventures in Human Being is a meditation on what it means to be human. Poetic, eloquent, and profoundly perceptive, this book will transform the way you view your body.

About the Author

Gavin Francis is a physician and the award-winning author of four books, including Adventures in Human Being, Empire Antarctica; and True North. A regular contributor to the London Review of Books, Guardian, and New York Review of Books, Francis lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Praise For Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum

The Independent (UK) -- Best Summer Reads
2015 Saltire Literary Award -- Non-Fiction Book of the Year


"Engaging and edifying."
New York Review of Books

"A sober and beautiful book about the landscape of the human body."
Hilary Mantel

"It is grand, eloquent stuff, occasionally humorous,
frequently moving, and invariably informative. In other hands, Adventures in
Human Being
might well have become cluttered with cliché, detail or
sentimentality but Francis has a lightness of touch that helps him avoid these
pitfalls. His use of quotes is sparing but erudite and his lack of
self-importance--often a failing in his profession--is welcome. The end
result is a thoroughly entertaining, provocative work."—The Guardian

"That Adventures in Human Being is an astonishing,
moving and enchanting book can be explained in part by Francis's unique range
of experience, his erudition and his enthusiasm."—New Statesman

"[Francis] offers an unusually upbeat medical
perspective.... His essays form a kind of anatomical atlas in which Francis
proceeds from head to toe, stopping along the way to explore the lungs,
genitalia, liver, and other organs."—Boston Globe

"[A] brilliantly original and highly engaging book
that takes you on a journey that is both familiar and unfamiliar, a book that
marries both the physical and metaphysical with such imaginative wit and
eloquence."—The Independent (UK)

"Clever, strangely beautiful.... The style is crisp and
fast and the human tales irresistible."—The Times (London)

"[Francis] is a fine, subtle and observant writer... this is an illuminating and arresting book."—Herald Scotland