Right Hand, Left Hand

right-hand-left-hand
by Chris McManus

(US Title: Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures)

Synopsis: A labor of love and enthusiasm as well as deep scientific knowledge, Right Hand, Left Hand takes the reader on a trip through history, around the world, and into the cosmos, to explore the place of handedness in nature and culture. Chris McManus considers evidence from anthropology, particle physics, the history of medicine, and the notebooks of Leonardo to answer questions like: Why are most people right-handed? Are left-handed people cognitively different from right-handers? Why is the heart almost always on the left side of the body? Why does European writing go from left to right, while Arabic and Hebrew go from right to left? Why do tornadoes spin counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere? And how do we know that Jack the Ripper was left-handed?

McManus reminds readers that distinctions between right and left have been profoundly meaningful—imbued with moral and religious meaning—in societies throughout history, and suggests that our preoccupation with laterality may originate in our asymmetric bodies, which emerged from 550 million years of asymmetric vertebrate evolution, and may even be linked to the asymmetric structure of matter. With speculations embedded in science, Right Hand, Left Hand offers entertainment and new insight to scientists and general readers alike.

2003 WINNER OF THE AVENTIS PRIZE FOR SCIENCE BOOKS (now the ROYAL SOCIETY WINTON PRIZE FOR SCIENCE BOOKS)

Published: March 2002 | ISBN-13: 978-0753813553

Book’s Homepage: http://www.righthandlefthand.com

Mini-bio: Chris McManus is Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College London. Chris trained as a doctor in Cambridge and Birmingham, and then after housejobs in Birmingham and County Durham he returned to Cambridge to submit a PhD on the genetics and neuropsychology of handedness and cerebral lateralisation. – AMSE Bio

Anthony Campbell Book Review
New England Journal of Medicine Book Review
Laterality Book Review
Journal of Heredity Book Review

[Image Credit: http://leftys.com.au/shop/images/BG04a.jpg ]

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