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Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  2,292 Ratings  ·  367 Reviews
Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science.

At the time, Phineas Gage seemed to completely recover from his accide
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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In order to provide this book with a proper evaluation, my reciprocal ages must weigh in.

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science
A review by Joe Prince, Age 31

Grisly. Stomach-churning. Disgusting. These are adjectives that aptly describe the first chapter - nay! paragraphs - of John Fleischman's brief but explosive account of the freak accident that inspired deeper study of brain science.

Compelling. Engaging. Witty. These are adjectives that aptly describe the entire book. Fl
Feb 16, 2014 Karla rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook
I'd never heard of Phineas Gage until I read The New England Grimpendium. Even though he is a hella famous local boy and trailblazer-by-accident in the study of neuroscience, he wasn't trotted out in grade school classrooms to gross out the kids while teaching them important stuff at the same time. Which boggles the mind because it's a highly effective way to instruct. C'mon, teachers. GET WITH THE PROGRAM. Does America want more brain scientists? Then teach them about Phineas Gage when they're ...more
❆ Crystal ❆
Jan 09, 2016 ❆ Crystal ❆ rated it liked it
3 stars. What an amazing story. It's amazing he survived. It's short but a great read. I enjoyed.
Lars Guthrie
Nov 20, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it really liked it
John Fleischman opens ‘Phineas Gage’ at full tilt, September 13, 1848, ‘a minute or two away’ from an accident that can only be described as freakish. Gage was working with gunpowder, blasting through solid rock as the foreman of a railroad construction gang in Vermont.

The tool of his trade was a tamping iron, three and a half feet long, a little less than two inches round, one end pointed like a spear to set a fuse, the blunt end used to tamp down earth over the gunpowder.

Something went wrong
Dorian Becerra
This book is about Phineas Gage a survivor of a large Iron rod going through his head. This is his story of how this affected brain science forever and his. I liked this book because I've been amazed of how he could survive this accident and I wanted to know more about it. I would recommend this book to people who like brain science.
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Non-fiction, biography, brain anatomy, science.

SUMMARY: Phineas Gage suffered a horrendous accident in 1848 when a tamping iron exploded through his skull. Amazingly, Phineas walked away from the accident, and lived for another eleven years. He was a changed man, however. His personality became harsher and less socially adept. He became prone to swearing and shortness of temper. After the incident Phineas was able to interact well with children and horses, and he worked with horses for ma
I've always been fascinated by the story of Phineas Gage. I've had the book 'The Only Living Man with a Hole in His Head' by Todd Colby Pliss on my list of books to read for a while now. So, this book caught my eye. It's so short it was no trouble to work it into the reading rotation.

The story of Phineas Gage's brain injury is fascinating stuff, an accidental discharge of explosives sent a three foot long iron tamping rod through the man's skull. Minutes later he walked on his own into town to g
Lindsey Jones
History, science, and psychology collide in this short, engaging read! The story of Phineas Gage is fascinating: not only the initial accident, but also the aftermath of the accident on Phineas's life and the developments in brain science and medicine. Fleischman does a great job of interweaving Gage's story with scientific explanations and historical medical developments. This writing style will enable young readers to make sense of technical content due to relevance. The inclusion of images ...more
Dec 26, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and will have my children read it, but we will be discussing one aspect of it for sure.
The author said that "Humans have always argued about what makes us human." Then goes on to say, "The case of Phineas Gage suggests that we are human because our frontal lobes are set up so we can get along with other humans." I beg to differ.
Our frontal lobes are not what makes us human. Would we say a brain injured dog is something other than a dog? A brain injured horse is not a
Mar 08, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Name: Kim Deniker

APA Citation: Fleischman, J. (2002). Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Genre: Biography, Nonfiction

Awards won: ALA Notable Children’s Books, 2003; New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, 2004; Book Report, 11/1/2002; School Library Journal, 3/1/2002; Booklist, 3/1/2002; Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), 6/1/2002; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books starred, 5/1/2002; Wilson’s Children, 10/1/2010; Five Owls, 6/20
I am very interested in brain science and have read several adult books on the subject. I was excited to see a book that introduced this topic to young adult readers. However, I think most children would be primarily drawn in with the title and illustration on the cover and want to read about the gory details, rather than learning about the brain research that came from studying the 11 years that Phineas Gage survived after a metal rod was driven through his skull in a railroad construction ...more
(NS) Lauren
Nov 08, 2009 (NS) Lauren rated it liked it
Interest/Grade Level: 6-12

Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. A railroad construction foreman, Phineas was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived another eleven years and became a textbook case in brain science. But he was forever changed by the accident, and what happened inside his brain will tell you a lot about how your brain works and what makes us who we are.

This informational bo
May 14, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it
Why would this appeal to teens? Why WOULDN'T appeal is a better question. It seems as if everyone goes through a gross phase, and this novel is absolutely disgusting and freakish. Younger students just love "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" books, and this is much like an extended version of one of those.
I think that many students will skip over the scientific explanations. High school students will already know much of it and middle schoolers may find it boring. The author offers solid basic explana
Jan 17, 2011 Laurel rated it really liked it
This is the true story of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker in the mid 1800's who suffered a brain injury after a 3-foot iron rod shot through his head. He not only survived, but (at least initially) appeared to be physically unaffected. That is, he could still walk, talk and perform normal daily tasks as usual. But he was not the same man. Once even-tempered, he now seemed to lack social skills, and often broke out in an unexpected temper.

Gage is one of the earliest documented cases of severe br
James Govednik
This thorough book, for ages 10 and up, offers a glimpse into the life of the famous subject as well as great science info on the brain, a bit of science history, and a bit of investigation into some of the mysteries surrounding Phineas Gage after his injury. The format is very easy to follow, and there are great supporting photographs and diagrams. The author avoided turning the story into a science textbook and instead manages to adopt an interesting story-telling style when necessary to keep ...more
May 24, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
This was a very short, 96 pages, but powerfully good book. If you are interested in the science of the brain, and in wonderfully well written, unique medical mystery stories...this is a great one. It is set in the mid 1800's and has some wonderful illustrations and information along with the story. I will also be checking out the website recommended by the author for more "Neuroscience for Kids." I just love this field. Along with Dr. Oliver Sachs books, much weightier reads of course, this is ...more
Aug 08, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
Ok, so this is a kid's book but it sure made brain science clear to me. Before Phineas Gage accidently shot a thirteen pound tamping rod through his brain in 1848, and survived, practically nothing was known about the brain. This short book,75 pages, describes Phineas' accident and medical care along with practically the entire history of medicine. Fascinating and a lot of information packed into a quick, easy to understand read. Illustrated. How many neurons do we have in our brains? Ten ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Matthyas rated it it was amazing
The book Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman is a very interesting book about how a man had a tamping iron shot through his head. The book goes on to find out how Phineas Gage had survived the rod through his head. Going throughout the book all about the old beliefs of brain science and the newest beliefs of the brain. Read tht ebook to find out more about this true, fascinating story.
Sep 10, 2009 Suzanne rated it liked it
Very interesting but definitely not an easy read. This book tells the true story of a man who had a steel rod impaled through his head and survived. It also looks at the science behind how he could survive and the reasons for the personality changes he underwent. This is on a middle school reading list, but the science is a stretch for their comprehension.
Jun 05, 2010 Tracy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chris Swensen, Jeff, Corbin
Got this for Ryan and ended up reading it myself. It's a true story about a man who had a tamping iron (basically a pike) shot thru his head in a railroad building accident. He lived, and his case is now a very famous study for brain science. Pretty amazing. Ryan gave it four and a half stars.
Jun 17, 2013 jmjester rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
#bookaday This is a perfect addition to our nonfiction unit. It's gruesome enough to suck you in, contains just the right amount of information on brain science and its history to challenge our students, and is engaging in manner. If Fleischman decides to write other middle grade books, I'm in.
May 01, 2009 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting children's book on this ever fascinating story. I heart Phineas. Well, probably not post-head trauma Phineas.
Nov 02, 2013 Renae rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rachelle DeMunck
Interesting and a bit disturbing...but really a great book.
Malorie Demo
Sep 26, 2014 Malorie Demo rated it it was ok
the book seemed to drag on a bit.
Oct 31, 2016 Patrick rated it liked it
The very interesting true story of Phineas Gage, who suffered a brain injury while working on the railroad in 1840. He live some 11 years after the accident, and is one of the first well documented cases of brain injury, and how it affected his personality.
Olivia A. 6
Oct 17, 2016 Olivia A. 6 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing coming from a girl who doesn't really read this kind of genere. This book is about fascinating Phineas Gage and his fascinating life story. He was literally a living man with a hole in his head. After a thirteen pound iron rod was shot through his head and parts of his brain this man became a living textbook, and this book is all about brain science and how he lived 11 years after the accident. I highly recommend this book. Even though its not a book I would typically read ...more
Tommy Dean
A quick read, meant for students to learn more about the history of brain science by putting a human face to the task. The writing is appropriate for a middle school to early high school level. It does a great job of including pictures and other text features. It really makes the reader think about how new brain science really is.
Mar 28, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: brain injury survivors, railroad workers
Recommended to Kate by: Rivera
Shelves: teen-fic, ischool
Annotation: This highly-acclaimed non-fiction book for young adult readers, shelved at the APL libraries in Dewey Decimal section 362--”Social problems of and services to groups of people”--tells the story of Phineas Gage, who miraculously survived an 1848 railroad-building accident in which an iron tamping rod blasted through his face, skull and brain. Although Gage made an impressive physical recovery and survived for eleven more years before dying of accident-related complications, mentally ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Bronson rated it really liked it
this book was phenomenal I learned a bunch of stuff about brain science that i did not know before what happened in the book was Phineas was working on the rail road and hit gunpowder and the iron pole that he was using shot strait of through the bottom of his cheek and up out the top of his heat and survived when his co workers came to check on him he had no idea what happend his friends did not say anything to put him into shock so they just said lets just go and see a doctor so they took a ...more
May 18, 2015 Jarvis is currently reading it
Phineas Gage Book Report :

On September 13, 1848 Phineas Is The Foreman Of A Track Construction Group . That Are In The Process Of Exploding A Railroad Right Out Of way Through Granite Bedrock Through The small Town Of Cavendish , Vermont . Phineas Gage Task Is To Blast The Solid Rock Into Small Pieces , enough for His Crew To Dig Loose With Hand Tools And Haul Away In Ox Carts. Phineas And His Assistant Follows A Daily Routine At Work . Pour The Powder , Set The Fuse , Pour The Sand , Tamp The
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John Fleischman, who is now the science writer for the American Society for Cell Biology and a magazine freelancer whose work appears in Discover, Muse, and Air & Space Smithsonian, was working in public affairs at Harvard Medical School when he wrote Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science.

In addition to writing for science publications, Fleischman was a senior editor at
More about John Fleischman...

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