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The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart
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The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  27 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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Rodale Books (first published January 18th 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Troy
Mar 21, 2013 Troy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Agnieszka Żak
Momentami dobra, ale głównie rozczarowanie Książkę tę kupiłam, ponieważ została wydana w tej samej serii (a przynajmniej - szacie graficznej), co książki Thorwalda, liczyłam więc na równie interesujący wgląd w historię medycyny. Niestety rozczarowałam się srodze.

Autorami są lekarz kardiolog i pisarz – wydawałoby się, że to połączenie wręcz idealne, by w ciekawy sposób przedstawić czytelnikowi zawiłości badań i operacji serca. Każdy rozdział zaczyna się częściowo opartym na faktach opowiadaniem,
...more
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.
Dindy
Aug 13, 2012 Dindy rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, vine
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
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 ...more
Andres
Apr 06, 2011 Andres rated it liked it
Shelves: medical
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
Oct 09, 2011 Steven rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, medicine, science
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
Kerszi
Aug 21, 2015 Kerszi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jak jest serce postrzegane na przełomie ludzkiej kultury dowiemy się z tej książki. Również przeczytamy o sposobach leczenia w antycznej Grecji, w średniowieczu, w dzisiejszych czasach a nawet autorzy spróbowali sił w opowiedzeniu przyszłości serca. Nie podobało mi się natomiast wtrącanie wątku serca do literatury pięknej, ale trzeba było zapełnić czymś treść. Wolałbym więcej technicznych szczegółów, a nie jak odnosił się do serca Szekspir. Ale być może komuś się to spodoba. adomie a nie z ...more
Marzena
Human heart’s biography, that sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. Yep, sounds, because in fact it was pretty boring to read. The book was written by two brothers, one a doctor and the other unfortunately a critic. Why unfortunately? Because what was supposed to be a fascinating tale about second major human’s organ turned to be a history of portraying heart in literature. You can spot the rare moments the doctor got the voice because these parts are so much more interesting! Anyway, there was ...more
Madeleine Robins
May 12, 2011 Madeleine Robins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Megan
Oct 18, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
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.
Shana Yates
Apr 21, 2016 Shana Yates rated it liked it
Shelves: medical-pandemic
Interesting little book about the history of the heart, spanning what humans used to think it was/did, to its metaphorical significance, to its workings and how it fails. Author deftly pivots from science to art to philosophy in chronicling the human heart. Worth a read for those who like to mix their science with humanities.
Sam Faith
Mar 20, 2016 Sam Faith rated it it was amazing
A remarkable book about the human journey of discovering the physiology of the heart and the allegorical heart of emotion from the depths of history, to the pragmatic present, and postulating about the magnificent future of possibilities in the works of modern cardiology. A stunningly multi-faceted read about the wonderous human heart.
MG
Apr 25, 2011 MG rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Becky
Mar 11, 2011 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
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.
Jacquelyn Fusco
Feb 27, 2015 Jacquelyn Fusco rated it liked it
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.
Gosia Kowalska
Aug 21, 2013 Gosia Kowalska rated it liked it
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.
Bernie
Mar 19, 2012 Bernie rated it liked it
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
George Stoddard
Jun 05, 2011 George Stoddard rated it really liked it
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.
Herman
Feb 25, 2012 Herman rated it it was amazing
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.
Erika
Apr 11, 2011 Erika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a unique conjunction of literary criticism and history of medical science concerning the symbolism and physiology of the human heart.
Paul
Jul 14, 2011 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michael Harris
Dec 30, 2011 Michael Harris rated it really liked it
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".
Darrin Clutteur
Darrin Clutteur rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2013
nisha Malathi
nisha Malathi rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2012
Dan Davis
Dan Davis rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2015
Erika Paulson
Erika Paulson rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2011
Joan
Joan rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2012
Dominika
Dominika rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2013
Cynda
Cynda rated it did not like it
Sep 12, 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 ...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.” 4 likes
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