Patient H.M.-A Great Pairing With One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family SecretsPatient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blood and brains, mystery and intrigue, secrets and cover-ups, Luke Dittrich introduces the reader into the unimaginable world of Patient H. M. Slicing up Henry Molaison’s existence, minute by minute, is all that Dittrich can do to the most important case in the field of neuroscience and neurosurgery. While Molaison’s memory was obliterated by a 1953 experimental brain operation that failed to eliminate his epileptic seizures, the ripples of this one moment have still not completely played out, and the complete details of Molaison’s six decade-long interim as a test subject will never be fully known. Dittrich’s writing is comprehensive and understandable, detailed with insights and stories that keep the pages turning automatically. Beyond the dark history of lobotomies in the United States (we all think we know the history, but while reading this book we realize we can never fully know the extent and how long the surgeries took place), Dittrich also reveals a rivalry among scientists that unfolds like reality TV with lawyers. Now, thanks to Dittrich, we will never forget the man who couldn’t remember.

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