Posted in Young Adult Nonfiction

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, by John Fleischman

1000990Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science
John Fleischman
2004 HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN – 9780618494781
Genre – Nonfiction
Age – High School
3.2 Stars

Phineas Gage lived in the mid 1800’s and worked as a railroad construction foreman in Vermont. September 13th, 1848 started out as a completely normal day, but turned interesting in an instant. An explosion went off next to him and shot a thirteen pound iron rod through his skull. It entered his face under his cheekbone  and exited at the top center of his head. Somehow Phineas managed to standup and walk away by himself, with an iron rod through his head…This book outlines the accident, his medical treatment, his (almost) full recovery, and ultimately his death twelve years later.

This book was certainly informative. It used Phineas Gage’s story to outline the evolution of brain thought and brain science. It was really interesting to learn about the two schools of thought pertaining to brains in the 1840’s. Some people thought that the brain acted as a whole, and others thought that each section of the brain controlled different aspects of our health and emotions. Although they were both correct in some respects, they were also both incredibly and humorously wrong. It is amazing to think about how far medical science has come, and how what we know now is built on centuries of research and incidents. My only complaint is that in some sections of the book the lingo was so scientific that I lost track and had to reread. I did find the pictures really helpful in adding to the text explanation of how the brain functions.

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