Into the Silent Land by Paul Broks
Travels in Neuropsychology

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Synopsis

How does the brain construct a "self," the essence of who we are as individuals? And how does the self respond to the deconstruction of its brain? A neuropsychologist with twenty-five years' experience and a runner-up for the prestigious Wellcome Trust Science Prize, Paul Broks writes with a doctor's precision and clarity in a series of narratives about the fascinating world of the neurologically impaired, delving not only into the inner lives of his patients but into a deeper understanding of how we define who we are. In "The Sea and the Almond," a young woman who suffers from daily grand-mal seizures agrees to a radical surgery that involves removal of the amygdala (from the Greek for almond) and part of the hippocampus (seahorse), which is responsible for memory and all conscious recall. "I Think Therefore I Am Dead" is a meditation on human consciousness and an intimate case study chronicling Broks's efforts in working with a patient suffering from a debilitating illness that has no diagnosis or cure. Broks intersperses his accounts of these rare conditions with illuminating studies of what neuroscience can and cannot teach us about the mechanisms that allow us to define ourselves as individuals.
 

About Paul Broks

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Broks is Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Neuropsychology at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. He writes regularly about his work for the British magazine Prospect and has been published in Granta and The Daily Telegraph.
 
Published May 1, 2003 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 246 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Into the Silent Land

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A science-fiction piece ponders what might happen in space travel if, by some mistake the self that was supposed to disintegrate and re-form on Mars doesn’t, so there are two not quite identical self replicas.

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The Guardian

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Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology by Paul Broks Atlantic £14.99, pp246 'There are many weird creatures in the menagerie of neurological disorder,' writes the eloquent neuropsychologist Paul Broks, before going on to acknowledge that the appeal of popular writings on the subject - A...

Jul 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Into the Silent Land: Travels...

The Guardian

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Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology by Paul Broks 208pp, Atlantic Books, £14.99 Science is about explaining the general.

Jun 14 2003 | Read Full Review of Into the Silent Land: Travels...

Chamber Four

(I personally consider all psychology to be a primarily philosphical pursuit–despite the empirical evidence the field has compiled–and the flip side to the physical study of the brain approached through neurology.) In this book, Broks, an accomplished neurospsychologist, writes of his field with ...

Dec 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Into the Silent Land: Travels...

The Sunday Times

It takes the eccentric form of a mixture of short essays, think pieces, fictional interludes, imaginary dialogues, fragments of memoir and case histories, all of which orbit around one central question: how does what we call “mind” — that is, consciousness — arise from what we call “brain” — that...

Jun 15 2003 | Read Full Review of Into the Silent Land: Travels...

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