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His Brother's Keeper

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  199 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Pulitzer-prize winning author Jonathan Weiner's revealing story of the science that is about to change all life forever.Biology used to be a science of the way things are. Now it is a science of the way things work, like physics or engineering. Biology's progress fascinates and appals us because it has gone from learning the ways of nature to trying to turn her. In his ext ...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published (first published March 16th 2004)
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Jan 22, 2009 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learned more than I ever knew about Lou Gehrig's disease, from a very personal point of view. I was disappointed in Weiner's writing. I was expecting the incredible writing of Beak of the Finch, but found instead a story he couldn't quite seem to pull together. Perhaps it was too personal for him, since his mother was dying of a nerve disease at the same time and he tried to incorporate that into the story.

Still a powerful glimpse of people doing all they can to get through a life and death sit
This book was good, but could have been better, as it wound down rather rapidly that I wasn't sure what had happened. The author follows the story of the Heywood brothers, white collar Jamie, an engineer, who leaves his job to pursue a biologic solution to cure his brother, blue collar Stephen's ALS. Stephen takes his diagnosis in stride, continuing to restore homes while his limbs grow progressively weaker and willing to volunteer as his brother's test subject if a treatment is found. Stephen i ...more
Jul 17, 2015 Crosby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A story of two brothers one of which is dying of an incurable genetic problem called Lou Gehrig's disease. Knowing that this disease is currently incurable and invariably fatal, i was not optimistic that this book would have a satisfying end. This turned out to be true. The author does a good job of conveying the personal trials and tribulations of the family but in the end could not transform a sad story into something better. The quest of a brother to speed up the process of genetic therapy to ...more
this book is about the brothers (Ben and Jamie Heywood) that founded the company I work for. there is a movie too, So Much So Fast. I found this book very interesting, but it felt a bit patchy at times and the pace was a little funny - some parts I zipped through and at some points I put the book down for a couple of days before picking it up again. While reading it I felt a little like I was spying on Ben and Jamie Heywood - I would read on the bus and then get to work and Ben would ask me some ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Camille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Weiner chose to become a writer over studying biology and ended up writing about science. In his words he isn't exactly a science writer. Rather, he says, "I'm trying to tell a true story with all the tools of narrative." And this most personal of his books tells an extraordinary story-a race against time, Jamie Heywood's, to find the miracle cure for ALS and save Stephen Heywood. In the context of the story, Weiner discloses background and research in biomedical and neurosciences, neur ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this fantastic book, Jonathan Weiner delves into the lives of two brothers, Jamie and Stephen, as they tried to find a cure for ALS (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Jamie, an engineer by education, makes it his life’s mission to study and find a cure for ALS after Stephen was diagnosed with having the disease. Stephen, a carpenter, allows his brother to become highly involved with his life and treatments, and Jamie desperately tries to find a cure. This zeal eventually leads to the ...more
Allyson Dyar
Feb 11, 2016 Allyson Dyar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I ordered this hardback around 2005 from the Scientific American Book
Club because I needed another book to fulfill my commitment. Nothing
really hit my fancy and since I desperately needed to select something,
"My Brother's Keeper" by Jonathan Weiner was reluctantly selected.

For five years, the book sat upon my shelf. I'd picked up the book
several times and each time, opted not to read it. Finally, I took the
plunge because my newly ordered books hadn't arrived yet and I needed
another book to read.
I thought this was well written. I read this book as I am starting a new job for a company that is working on drugs to address ALS and other CNS diseases. I think it was a good introduction to the science without being to academic.
Kristy Christensen
I could not finish this one. I am not a Scientist and a lot of time explaining took away from the story
Jan 27, 2016 Turton12 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliminating devastating diseases. The process probably isn't any better today. Sad
Ronald Wise
Sep 01, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly extraordinary tale directly involving some of the biggest ethical issues at the end of the 20th century. The true story of James Heywood's manic attempt to find a fast-track cure for his brother Stephen, who has been diagnosed with ALS. Directly linked to the big stories of the time - stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering - this book provided an inside look at the dynamics behind the developments then appearing in the media headlines frequently.
Amanda Carver
Oct 03, 2010 Amanda Carver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Started off amazing: true story of a brother who became a genetic engineer when his 29-yr old brother was diagnosed with ALS. The trouble is that the race to find a cure starts out all frantic and fast-paced and then drops off a cliff, and the novel does the same. If the author had more directly addressed that this was what was happening, I think I would have been more satisfied. Still, it was a fascinating read.
Kristy Allen
Dec 24, 2013 Kristy Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gives you a true feeling of what it is like to have a family member with ALS. The description of them waiting for the results of the final MRI and wishing they found a brain tumor puts into perspective the ALS diagnosis. Great read about a man desperate to save his brother.
May 14, 2013 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while laid up in a hospital bed sick with malaria and schistosomiasis. It was definitely the book to have on hand because it made all my suffering seem trivial. A really easy and captivating read. I definitely recommend it to all those science lovers out there.
Aug 05, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Science writer (Beak of the Finch) tackles story of family dealing with son (30years old) who gets ALS. His brother pushes all edges of science/medicine to find cure. Powerful, interesting...
Jan 05, 2009 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not finish this book at 3am with a raging case of jet lag. I bawled for a good hour after I put it down. Amazing, inspiring, heartbreaking ... you'll wish your family was this tight.
Jan 29, 2008 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderful- but painfully sad. About a young guy with ALS (Lou Gherigs disease) in the prime of his life and his brother's quest to find a cure... truly worth reading.
Melanie McCarter
This book had some cutting-edge ethical issues regarding stem cells. I enjoyed it from the science perspective and the touching story moved me emotionally.
David Quinn
Feb 27, 2011 David Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written and very interesting. There's a documentary movie about the Heywoods that was very good too.
Holly Jorgenson
Jun 01, 2010 Holly Jorgenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book, along the same lines as my other narrative nonfiction favorites!
Jessica Tillinghast
Great read a lot of medical talk a great read for genetics students
Jul 31, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author is fantastic. I didn't expect such a satisfying ending.
616.83 Wei
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: als
Cheryl Komline
Cheryl Komline marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2016
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Sep 15, 2016
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Jonathan Weiner is one of the most distinguished popular-science writers in the country. His books have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A former editor at The Sciences and a writer for The New Yorker, he is the author of The Beak of the Finch, Time, Love, Memory, His Brother's Keeper among many others.

He currently lives in New Y
More about Jonathan Weiner...

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