Reviewed by Jim Young
Dr. Alice Roberts
Published by Dorling Kindersley
Price £20 hardback
In the very first pages of this book we are told that there are 2 metres of DNA (3 billion bases) in every cell in our bodies! That in one square centimetre of skin there are on average 55 centimetres of nerve fibres, 70 centimetres of blood vessels, 15 sebaceous glands, 100 sweat glands, and 200 sensory receptors. How many books can offer such a functional interplay between an exciting text and its reader!
The huge encompassing images, with their relaxing pastel shades, draw the reader right in, and one can almost touch the anatomy as it flows past.
The richly annotated diagrams present micro- and predominately macro-anatomical relationships in an unambiguous way, accompanied by succinct information boxes that describe functional details.
Held in one’s lap this large book enables long quiet contemplation in a way that digital animations (however clever) will not.
It is a sinecure to progress through the book page by page, anatomical system by anatomical system, although one could dive in anywhere, just for fun.
The succinct specialist boxes bring to life the wonder at the way in which the anatomy is designed for functionality. Although another book by Alice Roberts “Evolution the Human Story” (ISBN: 978-1-4053-6165-1) would suggest that this anatomy is but a sublime manifestation of human evolution.
Every page has a visual key that provides an anatomical perspective for any particular system within the body. So as well as ensuring one will never get lost it also demonstrates anatomical interrelationships.
The final chapter on imaging brings the book bang up to date with examples of diagnostic and treatment images and imaging techniques.
By simply holding the book in my hands I could feel the vibrancy of the anatomy that is mirrored in these sumptuous images.
I encourage you to do the same.