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The Sublime Engine

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  23 reviews

The heart has always captured the human imagination. It is the repository of our deepest religious and artistic impulses, the organ whose steady functioning is understood, both literally and symbolically, as the very life force itself. The Sublime Engine explores the profound sense of awe every person feels when they ponder the miracle encased within the ribs.

In this lyric

ebook, 0 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Rodale (first published January 18th 2010)
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I am an internal medicine physician who practices in one of the most unhealthy cardiac states in the United States. This book added a deeper insight into the complex nature of heart disease. I enjoyed this book and recommend his book to all physicians. Sometimes, one must not forget to see the forest when focusing on the trees.
Tyler Hartford
Great read. Especially for those wondering about the intersections of faith and science. An easy to read history of the human heart, and the uncharted territory of the past 50 years as we have the ability to work on the heart like never before. The authors explore what those options have done to our collective psyche. If you have had heart work done, or are expecting to, this is a must read.
I borrowed this book from the library last semester (and didn't finish it until now, I've been a busy bee the past few months!) because I was taking a two-part anatomy and physiology class. As interesting as I found the hours spent peering at cadavers, I also wanted a more humanistic approach to the things I was studying. This book seemed like an interesting way to build a bridge between the past and the present. Unfortunately, reading the book itself was sort of like having a casual conversatio ...more
In The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart, brothers Stephen Amidon and Thomas Amidon approach a discussion of the heart from differing perspectives-- one from the point of view of a leading cardiologist and the other from the creative perspective of a novelist. Unfortunately from my point of view it just never really came together-- I felt it focused too much on the figurative aspects and not enough on the physical.

It was interesting to read about the history of scientific thought re
I was a little leery of the subtitle, thinking it was trying to ride the wave of this book. When I saw how slim the book was I was even more wary.

It isn't a comprehensive review of anything (cultural, medical or historical) having to do with the human heart (as the authors point out in the beginning). It is a quick jaunt through all of that, though, giving highlights here of this and that with each chapter headed by fictionalized renderings of people real and imagined that help put into historic
A neat little book, written by two brothers -- a cardiologist and a science writer -- that covers our relationship to the heart over time, from ancient times to today. Each section starts with a fictionalized account of a story related to the physical heart, which introduces that era's thoughts about the heart, how it was thought to work, and how it influenced thinking and culture.

I found this to be very good science writing, although I think the book would have been aided with a few more illus
Jacquelyn Fusco
I wish I could give 3 and a half. Maybe I should give 4. I just didn't adore it, but that's more about me than the book. It was interesting and balanced history, culture, and science. It was well done and I learned from it.
Madeleine Robins
This is a fascinating book--half medical history, half rumination on the place of the human heart in human thought. It's a slight book, and there are places I take issue with some statements (having just finished writing a book on medieval medical education, I know more than is good for me about medical thought at that time), but as an entree to the subject and a window into worldview it's enjoyable and intriguing.
I thought many of the stories used to illustrate the sections of the book were interesting. This was an informative book, and the reading was not dry. I know that the authors mention up front that Eastern cultures will not be considered in the text in order to narrow the scope. I would have liked to have seen them included. I think it would have increased the appeal for me.
More like 3.5. Super interesting material, most of the time, but I found the fictionalized chapter introductions overplayed and their forays into literary criticism amateurish. Like, dudes. You cannot pick three late Shakeapeare plays and then adequately trace the development of the "heart" metaphor in twelve pages.
The best part of the book was the stories, whether fictional or true, they captured me the most. While I enjoyed parts of the science and history as well, it wasn't as impactful as I expected. A worthwhile read regardless, will change how you think about the heart.
An interesting idea which doesn't quite work
Like the Emperor of All Maladies, it makes you very happy that you didn't have problems w your heart (cancer) very long ago
The combination of author and doctor made it different that many other books
Gosia Kowalska
Haven't read the whole of it, the chapter about the future of the heart seemed really unnecessary. The whole book had it's better moments, but more visible are chapters which are really boring - like the part about the heart in works of Shakespeare.
George Stoddard
A good read. The history of the heart and its significance in literature and science was interesting and informative. I found the recent medical advances and prospects for continued medical progress encouraging.
Jul 14, 2011 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Not a long read and not as compelling as I had hoped. The insight and background on medical history were good but for me the book lacked any deep substance - not a whole lot of take aways here.
from ancient heart through sacred, medeieval ,renaissance, scientific, morbid, current to future heart, a journey in time from the mysterious to the sublime engine that powers us all it's story.
Michael Harris
A gift from my daughter. An unusual look at the here from the perspective of two brothers, one a cardiologist and the other an author. I have new appreciation for my own "engine".
This book is a unique conjunction of literary criticism and history of medical science concerning the symbolism and physiology of the human heart.
Pretty cool history of the heart.
Exercise, diet, and don't smoke... it.
Feb 13, 2011 Steve marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Authors interviewed by Sanjay Gupta on "Sunday Morning", 13 Feb 2011.
Beautifully written and educational. A favorite of my 2012 reads.
I love hearts and I love this book. Solid read for sure.
Kate marked it as to-read
May 17, 2015
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Apr 18, 2015
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Stephen Amidon (born 1959, in Chicago) is an American author and film critic. He grew up on the East Coast of the United States of America, including a spell in Columbia, Maryland, which served as the inspiration for his fourth novel The New City. Amidon attended Wake Forest University as a Guy T. Carswell Scholar, majoring in philosophy. He moved to London, UK, in 1987, where he was given his fir ...more
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“For Plato, the quickening of the heart that occurred when a person saw his or her loved one was just a step in the ascent to true love, which could happen only in the mind, after the lover comprehended what was eternally true and beautiful in the beloved. Platonic love existed beyond all the blood and heat contained in the heart. This split between passion and piety, between lust and love, would resonate throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and it continues up to the present day.” 3 likes
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