The Unseen Body: A Doctor's Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy - book cover
  • Publisher : Flatiron Books
  • Published : 09 Nov 2021
  • Pages : 224
  • ISBN-10 : 1250246628
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250246622
  • Language : English

The Unseen Body: A Doctor's Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy

"A fascinating, lyrical book... Reisman's experiences in other cultures bring a richness and depth to The Unseen Body. The way he thinks about the body and medicine―the rivers and tributaries, the flowing and unclogging, the top-down organization of the brain―is extraordinary!"
―Mary Roach

In this fascinating journey through the human body and across the globe, Dr. Reisman weaves together stories about our insides with a unique perspective on life, culture, and the natural world.

Jonathan Reisman, M.D.―a physician, adventure traveler and naturalist―brings readers on an odyssey navigating our insides like an explorer discovering a new world with The Unseen Body. With unique insight, Reisman shows us how understanding mountain watersheds helps to diagnose heart attacks, how the body is made mostly of mucus, not water, and how urine carries within it a tale of humanity's origins.

Through his offbeat adventures in healthcare and travel, Reisman discovers new perspectives on the body: a trip to the Alaskan Arctic reveals that fat is not the enemy, but the hero; a stint in the Himalayas uncovers the boundary where the brain ends and the mind begins; and eating a sheep's head in Iceland offers a lesson in empathy. By relating rich experiences in far-flung lands and among unique cultures back to the body's inner workings, he shows how our organs live inextricably intertwined lives―an internal ecosystem reflecting the natural world around us.

Reisman offers a new and deeply moving perspective, and helps us make sense of our bodies and how they work in a way readers have never before imagined.

Editorial Reviews

"A fascinating, lyrical book... Reisman's experiences in other cultures bring a richness and depth to The Unseen Body. The way he thinks about the body and medicine―the rivers and tributaries, the flowing and unclogging, the top-down organization of the brain―is extraordinary!"
―Mary Roach

"A magnificent travelogue through the human body by a truly intrepid explorer. A genuine 'must' for anyone who is even remotely curious about their own body and how it works. I really loved it."
―Professor Sue Black, bestselling author of Written in Bone and All that Remains

"Reisman's passion and inquisitiveness are engaging even when topics turn to feces and cadavers.... An engaging book likely to pique the curiosity of readers interested in a wide range of medical conditions or naturalistic medicine."
Library Journal

"Quirky, never-dull popular science... even readers familiar with college biology will enjoy the experience."
Kirkus Reviews

"Physician and naturalist Reisman offers a 'behind-the-scenes look at life itself' via an odyssey through the human body. Accompanied by stories from his experience practicing medicine around the world.... deep curiosity driv[es] his narrative."
Publishers Weekly

"An elegant, elegiac, and deeply enjoyable meander through human anatomy by way of brain-tanned buckskin, blood as the last, salty remnant of life's oceanic origins, and the World Testicle Cooking Championships. The images Reisman conjures will linger long after you've devoured his delightful prose."
―Nicola Twilley, coauthor of Until Proven Safe and cohost of Gastropod

"Terrific, memorable, original, and full of information that informs one's understanding not only of the body but also of what has stopped us from knowing more. There is palpable joy at learning in Reisman's writing, and readers will know him as an individual whose humility and empathy are as impressive as his adventurous, travel-hungry spirit."
―Kenneth S. Brecher, cultural anthropologist and author of Too Sad to Sing

"Through his acute and extensive observations of the seen world of nature and human nature, Reisman illuminates the analogous workings of our unseen bodies. An Alexander von Humboldt of the human body, Reisman's comparisons give us an ingenious perspective from which to understand the ways our internal organs function alone and together. I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in understanding
and appreciating the marvels of the human body."
―Warren Zapol, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, Antarctic researcher, and inventor

"A remarkable travel narrative that documents the author's trip through a seemingly familiar place, the hu...

Readers Top Reviews

Shaun Butz
As a health care provider myself, you really never dive deep into the workings and how they relate to many things. I personally know Dr.Reisman and know what a great Doctor he is and this book really brings together so many things and is a true masterpiece.
I read and listened to this amazing book alongside my daughter, who is in premed. She was just so inspired by the book, and just validated her calling for the field of medicine. Within the book we’re true stories and anecdotes by Dr Reisman’s experiences in life and in practice, taking us through a visual tour of the human body through his eyes as a physician, adventurer and lover of nature. There was just something about the way Dr Reisman taught in his writing, that just feels as if in every chapter, you are sitting with him over coffee as he tells you about the intricacies of the human body, and where in the end you are so much smarter, and with a better understanding. I have been a nurse for many years and have learned so much. This is a great read for anyone and everyone who has a body - and of course for you or anyone you know looking to go into the healthcare field, this is a must read. If only all textbooks were written this way… It’s just so fun and I highly recommend!!
B. Robert Young
For disclosure, I worked with the author when he was a medical resident and I am not an MD. The book is well written with fantastic descriptions that bring the body alive in a way you've never imagined. You will laugh at some parts and learn something about yourself. I truly and thoroughly enjoyed every chapter
Jordana S.
This book is fabulous! I loved learning some of the basic mechanics of how different parts of the body work. The author has traveled the world to remote places and shared stories about many groups of people I was unfamiliar with. The stories of how these people live are fascinating. These are cultures you wouldn’t hear about in most educational books. I really enjoyed reading the story about tanning hides- an art I knew nothing about! I loved how he tied each body part to an interesting story about different people. It was both educational and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book!
Jon Turk
The 'Unseen Body' takes you on a journey into your own body, and at the same time takes you on a unique and exclusive journey into the fascinating training of a physician, into the ins and outs of the health care system itself, and into the curious mind of the author, Jonathan Reisman. The book is so full of charming anecdotes and surprising case histories, that it reads almost like a novel with the reader always fascinated to know, “What comes next?” Reading the Table of Contents I started off by saying, "okay the heart should be interesting, but why is mucus so interesting?” And I found out that mucus is so interesting that I stayed up late at night to read the next page-turning chapter, “Fingers and Toes.” You’ll come away from this book amused and enriched, learning and having fun. Highly recommended.

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