Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sublime Engine” as Want to Read:
The Sublime Engine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Rodale (first published January 18th 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sublime Engine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sublime Engine

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 343)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Troy
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.
Annie
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
Dindy
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
...more
Andres
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
...more
Steven
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
...more
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.
MG
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.
Megan
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.
Becky
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.
Bernie
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.
Paul
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.
Herman
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".
Erika
This book is a unique conjunction of literary criticism and history of medical science concerning the symbolism and physiology of the human heart.
Derek
Pretty cool history of the heart.
Exercise, diet, and don't smoke... ...got it.
Steve
Feb 13, 2011 Steve marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Authors interviewed by Sanjay Gupta on "Sunday Morning", 13 Feb 2011.
Gail
Beautifully written and educational. A favorite of my 2012 reads.
Nickmkats
I love hearts and I love this book. Solid read for sure.
Kate
Kate marked it as to-read
May 17, 2015
Marta
Marta marked it as to-read
May 15, 2015
fr4nt1c
fr4nt1c marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2015
Dominika
Dominika marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2015
Ruben R. Samaniego
Ruben R. Samaniego marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ether Day: The Strange Tale of America's Greatest Medical Discovery and The Haunted Men Who Made It
  • Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis
  • What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life, and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day
  • The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death
  • The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else
  • After God's Own Heart: The key to knowing and living God's passionate love for you
  • The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal
  • The Chlorine Revolution: Water Disinfection and the Fight to Save Lives
  • Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers
  • The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
  • I Quit
  • Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
  • Among the Thorns
  • Stulecie chirurgów
  • Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
  • Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries
  • The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love
  • The Secret History of MI6
218878
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
More about Stephen Amidon...
Human Capital Security The New City Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron Subdivision

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…