The anatomy of a good read

The human body is a marvel. The more we study it, the more fascinating it becomes. Even with thousands of years of medical research, every day we are learning more about the details of it, how it works, why it works. It’s like a never ending puzzle!

And our society has been at it for a long time!

“Human Anatomy: A Visual History From the Renaissance to the Digital Age” by Rifkin, Ackerman & Folkenberg gives us a visually fascinating look at the growth of our knowledge of our bodies over a wide span of time.

Beginning with “The Art of Anatomy”, this small volume is packed full of illustrations throughout the ages, giving us an inside look on how our knowledge and ability to convey this knowledge has improved over time.

The images selected are incredible, not only for their informational value, but also they have historical, technical, scientific and artistic value. The fine detail composed in each image is like looking at a work of art — which they actually are! Some of the illustrations seem as if they were created out of the fantasy of someone’s imagination, yet these are all true works from our own history! And now, in retrospect and thanks to modern technology, we can now see how accurate our forefathers’ works were.

Additionally, the authors’ have done a gratifying job at compiling the vast sum of centuries of advancement into easy-to-read passages which are equally as interesting as the illustrations themselves.

And then there’s the more unconventional parts: one of these historic illustrators, ethical or not, would make ikebana-like “artistic compositions” out of skeletons, blood vessels, and organs!

So, crack open that rib cage … er, book … and see what awaits you inside! You’ll likely look at the human body (and yourself) in a whole new light!

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Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.

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