Does the mind reflect or dictate what the body sees and feels? What is the language of emotion? Is memory a function of our imaginations? Are we all just out of our minds?
In this ambitious and enlightening work, Diane Ackerman combines an artist's eye with a scientist's erudition to illuminate the magic and mysteries of the human brain. With An Alchemy of Mind, she offers an unprecedented exploration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days. In addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, Ackerman reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses such controversial subjects as the effects of trauma, nature versus nurture, and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness and the nature of identity.
Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)
"Starred Review. She writes, "One of the most surprising facts about human beings is that we seem to require a poetic version of life," the very gift Ackerman bestows upon her rapt and illuminated readers." - Booklist.
"Ackerman's prose is equally sensuous on the literal plane, enabling her to turn an afternoon snack into a lesson on neurochemistry that swiftly dovetails with a discussion of the varying speeds of thought without ever risking distraction. Even brain buffs used to a more detached approach should be won over by her uniquely personal perspective." - Publishers Weekly.
"A bad metaphor can do more than just befuddle. It can give a reader precisely the wrong idea about how nature works. Those who hope to learn the basics about the brain in An Alchemy of Mind will sometimes be misled by pretty-sounding language. Ackerman informs us, for example, that our ancestors were faced with the paradox of getting a big human brain out of a mother's narrow birth canal. "The solution we found was to give birth earlier," she declares, as if our ancestors convened a meeting where they voted to redesign their genome. Still, Ackerman deserves credit for taking on what is an important mission -- a mission that is, at least for the moment, doomed to failure." - The Washington Post.
""A brilliant distillation of the mysterious intersection of brain and mind...all delivered in miraculously readable prose." - Elle Magazine.
The information about An Alchemy of Mind shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.
Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by readers all over the world and the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings.
Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and Praise My Destroyer.
Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of ...
Become a Member
and discover your next great read!
All The Gallant Men
The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.