... entertaining ... Schutt’s book recreates the interviews he conducted during research visits, while puns and other funny touches, like a section of direct addresses to flatworms, enliven its prose. Fascinating asides on the clotting ability of horseshoe crabs’ blue blood (harvested for pharmaceutical use) and Charles Darwin’s posthumous diagnosis—he was treated for angina, but in the 1950s it was proposed that he contracted Chagas disease from an insect bite—come in ... Illustrated by Schutt’s longtime American Museum of Natural History office mate, Patricia J. Wynne, this brisk and engaging history of hearts of all forms and sizes packs a punch.
... fascinating ... The comparative anatomy of the heart might seem a forbidding premise for a book, but Mr. Schutt turns it into surprising entertainment, combining deep learning with dad jokes ... Mr. Schutt, a former professor of biology at Long Island University, is a natural teacher with an easy way with metaphor. He is at his most engaging when discussing the weird and spendthrift ingenuity of evolution.
His book Pump refuses to tie the heart off from the circulatory system, and instead uses it to explore how multicellular organisms have found various ways to solve the same fundamental challenge ... At his best, Schutt guides us on a journey from the origin of the first contractile cells more than 500 million years ago to the emergence of vertebrates, not long afterwards ... There are plenty of zoological nuggets to enjoy along the way ... Schutt’s try-hard tone will not be for everyone ... As Schutt turns from comparative anatomy to historical interpretations of the heart, and then to more recent milestones in cardiovascular medicine, the off-piste jaunt loses its way ... As for the legacy of the damage wrought to hearts—in every sense—by the COVID-19 pandemic? That’s a book that needs to be written.