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Library Journal Review
Award-winning British medical writer Carter surveys the current state of medical technology that allows us to peer into the human brain. In a crisp and engaging style, Carter briefly describes early attempts at psychosurgery and then summarizes what science can now tell us about the architecture of the brain. She also provides fascinating glimpses into certain neurological disorders (especially autism), an anatomy of human emotions, and an engrossing discussion of perception and language. The chapter devoted to memory is especially noteworthy, as is a final discussion of human awareness. While many recent publications have concentrated in more detail on various functions of the brain (V.S. Ramachandran's Phantoms in the Brain, LJ 10/15/98; Frank Wilson's The Hand, LJ 7/98), Mapping the Mind, with its excellent illustrations and well-placed sidebars, will appeal to a general audience not yet exposed to the newest research in neuroscience. Public libraries will be well served by this book.Laurie Bartolini, MacMurray Coll. Lib., Springfield, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Carter, a distinguished English medical journalist, has written a handsome and very accessible book designed to introduce laypeople to contemporary neurochemistry, neurobiology and brain research. Carter shows how this research has traced emotions, impressions, thoughts and behaviorsfrom tasting a sprig of thyme to solving a math problem to killing an intruderto particular parts of the brain. Descriptions of normal brain function are interspersed with details about the research and about extraordinary, illuminating cases: of the woman to whom the name "Richard" tasted like chocolate, of the man who tried to have sex with a sidewalk. Readers learn that sense-data from the eyes and ears go first to the thalamus; that falling in love may be caused by a single chemical called oxytocin; and that one thinker, Itzhak Fried, has hypothesized "syndrome E," a neurobiological disorder, in young men who carry out genocides. Mixing established knowledge with new speculations, Carter takes care to tell readers which is which. She strews her text with bright diagrams and pictures, and avoids specialized or technical language: readers of Scientific American, or even of Oliver Sacks, may find themselves wishing for more detail. Carter seems to be writing for adults and teens who don't know the field and want to learn it, and she does it right. Short inset essays (some by distinguished scientists, others by Carter) address such specific topics as the chemistry of drug addiction, the origins of autism and alleged differences between gay and straight brains. 100 color & 50 b&w illustrations. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Carter, a medical and science writer from England, has written an excellent book on the brain. The information, from neurochemicals to brain mapping, is up-to-date and written in an especially accessible manner. Clearly the writing has benefited from the author's training in journalism and the collaboration of scientific adviser Christopher Frith (Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology). There are a number of beautiful images and helpful diagrams; if the images were larger, this would be an outstanding coffee-table book. In addition to the text and pictures, Carter has also persuaded a number of today's leading neuroscientists to contribute brief essays about their subdisciplines. Far superior to Susan Greenfield's The Human Brain: A Guided Tour (CH, Jan'98), Carter's book is a must for any library. Neuroscientists and individuals interested in the field will be very pleased with it. All levels. C. R. Timmons; Drew University