Heart: A History - Sandeep Jauhar
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374168650

The bestselling author of Intern and Doctored tells the story of the thing that makes us tick…

An Amazon Best of the Month for September and one of Amazon’s Most Anticipated Fall Books

For centuries, the human heart seemed beyond our understanding: an inscrutable shuddering mass that was somehow the driver of emotion and the seat of the soul. As the cardiologist and bestselling author Sandeep Jauhar shows in Heart: A History, it was only recently that we demolished age-old taboos and devised the transformative procedures that have changed the way we live.

Deftly alternating between key historical episodes and his own work, Jauhar tells the colorful and little-known story of the doctors who risked their careers and the patients who risked their lives to know and heal our most vital organ. He introduces us to Daniel Hale Williams, the African American doctor who performed the world’s first open heart surgery in Gilded Age Chicago. We meet C. Walton Lillehei, who connected a patient’s circulatory system to a healthy donor’s, paving the way for the heart-lung machine. And we encounter Wilson Greatbatch, who saved millions by inventing the pacemaker—by accident. Jauhar deftly braids these tales of discovery, hubris, and sorrow with moving accounts of his family’s history of heart ailments and the patients he’s treated over many years. He also confronts the limits of medical technology, arguing that future progress will depend more on how we choose to live than on the devices we invent. Affecting, engaging, and beautifully written, Heart: A History takes the full measure of the only organ that can move itself.

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Praise for Heart: A History

“Chock-full of absorbing tales that infuse fresh air into a topic that is often relegated to textbooks or metaphors about pumps, plumbing or love.” The New York Times Book Review 

“Both primer and ode, Heart is a fascinating education for those of us who harbor this most hallowed organ but know little about it.” The Washington Post 

“Jauhar is thoughtful, self-reflective, and profoundly respectful of doctors and patients alike; readers will respond by opening their own hearts a little bit, to both grief and wonder.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Poignant and chattily erudite, Heart shuttles between scholarship and memoir to relate this continuing epic, the uneasy companionship between humans and our most metaphorized organ” Wall Street Journal 

“This captivating investigation deftly communicates the beauty, mystery, and scientific wonder of the human heart.” Library Journal

“In Heart: A History, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar argues that doctors need to devote more attention to how factors like unhappy relationships and work stress influence heart disease…” The New York Times

“Sandeep Jauhar, a New York cardiologist and the author of two medical memoirs, has written a book of unusual depth and richness about a subject that concerns us all . . . Heart: A history is elegantly conceived and still more elegantly executed, with a narrative that flits effortlessly between medieval Persia and contemporary America, medical scholarship and personal anecdote . . . Jauhar writes with a vital, pulsating energy.” Thomas Morris, The Times Literary Supplement

“Engaging… Jauhar brings literary flair […] narrating the history of cardiology through stories of daring innovations, painstaking research, and chance discoveries.” —K. Srinath Reddy, Indian Express

“This is both a history of surgical interventions to heal the heart, and a personal meditation on illness, family, loss, and living. [Jauhar], who has lost several family members to heart disease, takes time to examine both the work of doctors trying to fix hearts and the lives of people living with heart disease, for a book that is touching and ultimately, hopeful.” —Los Angeles Public Library, “Best Nonfiction of 2018”

“Alternating between key historical episodes and his own work, Jauhar tells the colorful and little-known story of the doctors who risked their careers and the patients who risked their lives to know and heal our most vital organ.” WNYC

“Sharp, engrossing…” Barnes & Noble Review

“A page-turning mixture of personal experience, family lore, health advice, and history with a heavy emphasis on medical dramatics.” Kirkus

“A thumping tribute to the protagonists — some legendary some unsung — of medicine, who over the years have innovated and persevered to find cures for cardiac ailments through landmark breakthroughs in their field.” Business Standard

“In a fascinating history, Sandeep Jauhar describes how distress can cause our beating pump fatally to change shape.” The Spectator

“Fascinating and moving in equal parts.” The Telegraph (India)

“Jauhar joins a distinguished group of Asian-American doctors, such as Atul Gawande, Siddhartha Mukherjee and the late Paul Kalanithi, who are all gifted authors writing for the general public” The New Statesman

Heart invites us into both his personal and professional connection to cardiac disease, while also helping address mysteries that have long perplexed doctors, as well as the patients they care for.” The Globe and Mail

“A fascinating, gripping book on the history of the human heart that will bring you closer to your heart than ever before – this is truly a bold and beautiful book on cardiology.” Financial Express

“Jauhar’s writing blends pathos and playfulness and is suffused with an elegiac tension, haunted as it is by the specter of his own mortality . . . Jauhar invites the reader into the resonant chambers of his heart, narrating the history of an organ while also offering a stirring personal tour of his sorrows.” ―Raj Telhan, American Scholar

Praise for Sandeep Jauhar

“An extraordinary, brave and even shocking document. Dr. Jauhar’s sharply observed anxieties make him a compelling writer and an astute critic of the wasteful, mercenary, cronyistic and often corrupt practice of medicine today.” —Florence Williams, The New York Times (Science)

“Highly engaging and disarmingly candid . . . Dr. Jauhar does a service by describing eloquently the excesses and dysfunctions of patient care and the systemic distortions responsible for them.” The Wall Street Journal

“Arresting…Dr. Jauhar’s book is often moving, especially when he focuses on his patients…this thoughtful telling provides a service in itself. Because the first step toward healing is, of course, getting a good diagnosis.” —Susannah Meadows, The New York Times

“Bold and fascinating . . . [Jauhar] interweaves his personal story as well as anecdotes about his patients into a meticulously researched and painfully honest account of a profession . . . This beautifully written and unsparing memoir puts a human face on the vast, dysfunctional system in which patients and clinicians alike are now entangled.” The Boston Globe

“In this absorbing memoir-cum-analysis, Sandeep Jauhar traces his years as a fledgling cardiologist against the backdrop of a health-care system in peril . . . An impassioned call to action.” —Barbara Kiser, Nature

“Sandeep Jauhar’s Doctored is a passionate and necessary book that asks difficult questions about the future of medicine. The narrative is gripping, and the writing is marvelous. But it was the gravity of the problem–so movingly told–that grabbed and kept my attention throughout this remarkable work.” —Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

“Medicine’s radical transformation in recent years has brought both incredible scientific advances and an increasingly dysfunctional health care system. Doctored takes us behind the façade and allows us to see the seamy underbelly. Jauhar’s gift is to observe and to beautifully tell the stories. In doing so he leads us to a visceral understanding of what has gone wrong. Doctored is a manifesto for reform.” —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“Sandeep Jauhar specializes in peeling back the veneer, revealing the discomfiting truths of today’s medical world. He is unafraid to dig deeply and honestly, both within himself and within the medical profession. Doctored raises critical questions that twenty-first-century medicine must answer if it is to meet the needs of its patients as well as of its practitioners.” —Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D., author of What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine

“Sandeep Jauhar is a compelling storyteller, and Doctored gives us a fantastic tour through the seedy underworld of American medicine.” —Lisa Sanders, M.D., Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine, and author of Every Patient Tells a Story

“A compelling call for reform.” The New York Daily News

“Precise, observant…Doctored features many vivid accounts of Jauhar’s encounters with patients and colleagues, illustrating the high-stakes ethical and professional decisions physicians face daily. These stories, often deeply personal, bring a human dimension to his sharp critique of a ‘system that makes us bad, makes us make mistakes.’”Shelf Awareness

“Important reading as we debate health care.” Library Journal

“An engaging memoir that probes for the source of the ‘collective malaise’ that grips [Jauhar’s] profession.” The Federalist

“In this searing critique of overtreatment, cronyism and cover-your-ass medical care, a cardiologist confronts the ‘collective malaise’ infecting the American medical profession as he opens a vein to reveal his own complicity and shattered ideals. Jauhar offers, if not a cure, a prescription for restoring dignity to patient and healer alike.” More

“A supremely well-written, thought-provoking memoir that strikes the perfect balance between ideas and sentiment.” —G. Sampath, The Hindustan Times

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