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Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  2 reviews
Whether we blink an eye, lift a finger, throw a spear or a ball, walk, run or merely breathe, we are using muscle. Although muscles differ little in appearance and performance across the animal kingdom, they accomplish tasks as diverse as making flies fly, rattlesnakes rattle and squid shoot their tenticles. Our everyday activities turn on the performance of nature's main ...more
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Margaret Sankey
Two useful, if disturbing, bullet points from an examination of living musculature:
*Humans are far more efficient translators of calories into power than draft animals, so given large numbers of humans and tools, and discounting all the other consequences, slavery works pretty efficiently.
*On the other hand, pace Swift, humans are very poor translators of food into muscle and fat, so cannibalism is, aside from really special occasions, not really worth it
I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book which present a great overview of muscle. The second part of the book diverged into talking about labor, weapons, and other topics that were not as interesting to me.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor, Emeritus, in the Department of Biology at Duke University.

As it has turned out, my activities as a teacher and writer have extended well beyond the explication of the immediate results of research. The first two of my seven books, A F
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