By Luke Dittrich
“Oliver Sacks meets Stephen King”* during this propulsive, haunting trip into the lifetime of the main studied human examine topic of all time, the amnesic referred to as sufferer H.M., a guy who without end altered our knowing of ways reminiscence works—and whose therapy increases deeply unsettling questions about the human expense of medical development. For readers of The Immortal lifetime of Henrietta Lacks comes a narrative that has a lot to coach us approximately our relentless pursuit of knowledge.
*Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old manufacturing unit employee named Henry Molaison—who suffered from serious epilepsy—received a thorough new edition of the then-common lobotomy, focusing on the main mysterious constructions within the mind. The operation didn't put off Henry’s seizures, however it did have an accidental impact: Henry used to be left profoundly amnesic, not able to create long term stories. Over the following sixty years, sufferer H.M., as Henry was once recognized, grew to become the main studied person within the historical past of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who might educate us a lot of what we all know approximately reminiscence today.
Patient H.M. is, now and then, a deeply own trip. Dittrich’s grandfather used to be the bright, morally complicated health care professional who operated on Molaison—and millions of different sufferers. The author’s research into the darkish roots of recent reminiscence technological know-how finally forces him to confront unsettling secrets and techniques in his circle of relatives background, and to bare the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation—experimentation that might revolutionize our knowing of ourselves.
Dittrich makes use of the case of sufferer H.M. as a place to begin for a kaleidoscopic trip, person who strikes from the 1st recorded mind surgical procedures in historical Egypt to the state of the art laboratories of MIT. he is taking readers contained in the outdated asylums and working theaters the place psychosurgeons, as they known as themselves, carried out their human experiments, and backstage of a sour custody conflict over the possession of crucial mind within the world.
Patient H.M. combines the easiest of biography, memoir, and technological know-how journalism to create a haunting, eternally interesting tale, one who unearths the wondrous and devastating issues which may take place whilst hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.
Praise for Patient H.M.
“Patient H.M. tells some of the most interesting and anxious tales within the annals of medication, weaving in ethics, philosophy, a private saga, the heritage of neurosurgery, the mysteries of human reminiscence, and an exploration of human ego.”—Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize winner and writer of Five Days at Memorial
“Dittrich explores the boundaries of technology and the brain. within the method, he rescues an iconic lifestyles from oblivion. Dittrich is definitely conscious that whereas we're the sum of what we may perhaps bear in mind, we’re additionally on the mercy of what we will fail to remember. this is often vintage reporting and myth-making on the related time.”—Colum McCann, writer of Let the nice global Spin
“This publication succeeds on each point: as a clean examine the main well-known sufferer in clinical heritage, as an exposé of our darkish background of psychiatry and neurosurgery, and, such a lot powerfully, as a deeply own research into the author’s earlier. And but it’s nonetheless a page-turner that reads like a thriller.”—Susannah Cahalan, writer of Brain on Fire
“It felt as though I learn this publication in a single breath. Patient H.M. is an engaging, strong research, a matryoshka doll of nested tales in regards to the prior and current, remembering and forgetting.”—Michael Paterniti, writer of The Telling Room
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Additional resources for Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets
Stamford, Connecticut, turn of the century. A burglar broke into the home of a young bachelor, and the bachelor woke up. He reached for the pistol he kept in his nightstand, aimed it at the intruder, but the pistol jammed. The burglar’s didn’t. A bullet entered the bachelor’s chest, where it encountered a rib, deflecting it away from his heart. The bachelor survived and kept the bullet as a memento. He eventually passed it down to his son, my grandfather. The bullet sat there for the rest of the dinner, and I found it both fascinating and terrible to contemplate.
The horse was on its way to a stable to be reshod. Frankie and Jimmie and Henry were nestled warmly in the back. Some other local kids, seeing them go by, threw snowballs, but the walls of the sleigh kept them safe. Henry chuckled. “It was good,” he said. ” The scientist nodded. ” Later, when a graduate student transcribed the tape of this session, she noted in parentheses that Henry’s response to this last question arrived in a hushed voice, and that he was almost in tears. “Yes,” Henry whispered.
As he told the story, he picked up the pace, added more details, lost himself in the memory. The horse was on its way to a stable to be reshod. Frankie and Jimmie and Henry were nestled warmly in the back. Some other local kids, seeing them go by, threw snowballs, but the walls of the sleigh kept them safe. Henry chuckled. “It was good,” he said. ” The scientist nodded. ” Later, when a graduate student transcribed the tape of this session, she noted in parentheses that Henry’s response to this last question arrived in a hushed voice, and that he was almost in tears.
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich