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The Human Brain

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  • Book Review
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  • Biology
  • Education
  • Medicine

Abstract

THE YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE 62 (1989), 43-53 Book Reviews THE HUMAN BRAIN. By Paul Glees. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1988. 204 pp. $59.50. In his most recent book, The Human Brain, Paul Glees, Emeritus Professor of Neuroanatomy and Histology at the University of Gottingen, attempts to expand upon two of his earlier works (Das Menschliche Gehrin [1968] and Experimental Neurol- ogy [1961]). As the author states, the book draws upon his "experience and accumulated teaching material," especially his recent teaching experiences at Cam- bridge University. Although the book is relatively short, its approach to neurobiology is strikingly comprehensive. Glees places great emphasis on anatomy (human and comparative), embryology, and histology, but there are also numerous small pockets of neurophysiology and neuropathology, with occasional clinical correlations. Much of the first part of the book, in particular, is written for the novice in neurobiology. Its style is simple, with an emphasis on basics. There are many interesting figures and drawings; the first 20 pages of the book contain 30 figures. Despite the often simple style, it is one of the rare books which may be read on several levels, and its figures contain large quantities of valuable information. The book possesses a number of strengths, the first being its evolutionary approach to neurobiology. This approach is particularly apparent in chapters one and two. Thus, there is a significant amount of comparative anatomy, and the reader gains a sense of the development of the human brain over time. The phylogenetic approach, missing from most books, provides this one with added value. The above-mentioned evolution- ary/phylogenetic approach extends to the author's explanations for the relative development of certain brain structures. These explanations tend to have a teleological flavor, making them somewhat simplistic, though often intriguing. While the author's evolutionary approach often gives the reader additional infor

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