Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular.
One of the strengths of Bryson’s delightful new book, The Body, is that it reveals the thousands of rarely acknowledged tasks our body takes care of as we go about our day ... The overall result is informative, entertaining and often gross ... Bryson particularly excels at ferreting out unsung heroes ... Bryson, who gives off a Cronkite-like trustworthy vibe, is good at allaying fears and busting myths ... If there’s one part of this book everyone should read, it’s the five pages on the antibiotic crisis. It will light up your amygdala.
Mr. Bryson’s latest book is a Baedeker of the human body, a fact-studded survey of our physiques, inside and out. Many authors have produced such guides in recent years, and some of them are very good. But none have done it quite so well as Mr. Bryson, who writes better, is more amusing and has greater mastery of his material than anyone else ... Mr. Bryson is a master explainer, with a gift for the pithy simile and all-encompassing metaphor ... Mr. Bryson’s love of language is often on display, and he can’t resist occasional indulgences on the origins of terms medical and anatomical ... Mr. Bryson’s account is enlivened by his excellent command of the history of medicine ... Mr. Bryson is brisk, provocative and entertaining throughout. As he covers vast realms of anatomy, physiology and medicine in this book, you might expect it to be rife with errors, but I am only able to find two.
It’s unlikely I will ever be the subject of a book-length biography. So here’s the next best thing: a likely bestseller all about me. Of course it’s also all about you, which takes a little of the shine off it. On the other hand, you and I would never have a biographer who writes in such loving detail about every facet of our physique: from skull to toenails; dawn halitosis to midnight insomnia; conception to cremation ... Bill Bryson isn’t a medic, biologist or psychiatrist, but that’s what makes his exploration of the human body, all seven billion billion billion atoms of it (the book is rich in jaw-dropping stats), so readable and useful. As with his earlier A Short History of Nearly Everything, which offers a non-specialist introduction to science, he asks all the questions a layperson doesn’t dare to ask for fear of exposing humiliating ignorance, then answers them in witty, jargon-free prose that glides you through 400 pages. It’s fun to read because it’s not just comprehensive, but quirky.