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Now available in a larger format, a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history and culture. Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound - not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail-oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. In the second part of the book, he takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership.
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'This is a very remarkable book ... McGilchrist, who is both an experienced psychiatrist and a shrewd philosopher, looks at the relation between our two brain-hemispheres in a new light, not just as an interesting neurological problem but as a crucial shaping factor in our culture ... clear, penetrating, lively, thorough and fascinating ... splendidly thought-provoking ... I couldn't put it down.' -- Professor Mary Midgley, The Guardian
'A beautifully written, erudite, fascinating and adventurous book. It embraces a prodigious range of enquiry, from neurology to psychology, from philosophy to primatology, from myth to history to literature. It goes from the microstructure of the brain to great epochs of Western civilisation, confidently and readably. One turns its five hundred pages - a further hundred are dense with notes and references in tiny print - as if it were an adventure story ... McGilchrist tells us about the rapidly evolving technologies and experimental work in fascinating and lucid detail.' -- Professor AC Grayling, The Literary Review
'It is no exaggeration to say that this quite remarkable book will radically change the way you understand the world and yourself ... Reading this book, to which you will want to return on a regular basis (one reading cannot possibly exhaust its multifaceted insights) will help you better understand reality and the way we experience and represent it. It is a genuine tour de force, a monumental achievement - I can think of no one else who could have conceived, let alone written, a book of such penetrating brilliance.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review
'20 years in gestation, this remarkable survey of the human brain is one of few contemporary works deserving classic status ... [McGilchrist] writes with penetrating authority.' -- Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times
'A fascinating book ... [McGilchrist] is a subtle and clever thinker, and unusually qualified to range with such authority over so many different domains of knowledge.'-- Harry Eyres,Financial Times
'A dazzling masterpiece, hugely ambitious and the most comprehensive, profound book ever written on brain laterality... One puts down this beautifully written, profound, philosophically sophisticated book thinking psychiatrist and former Oxford English professor McGilchrist might just be one of the most learned people in Europe.' Professor Norman Doidge, University of Toronto & Columbia University, NY, and author of The Brain That Changes Itself, 'Book of the Year', writing in Canada's The Globe & Mail
'This book is a wake-up call. In the most comprehensive, and lucid, review to date of findings from research on differences in consciousness, motives and emotions in the two cerebral hemispheres ... Dr McGilchrist, a humanist scholar and psychiatrist, deliberates on their significance for our scientific and philosophical understanding of ourselves, and of our fate in the modern technical world with its complex artificial devices.' -- Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Edinburgh
'A wonderful book - broad in scope and full of incisive detail. It should be required reading for any serious student of human psychology. For researchers involved in hemisphere studies, the historical/cultural context.' -- Professor Norman Cook, Professor of Informatics at Kansai University, Osaka, and author of The Brain Code: Mechanisms of Information Transfer and the Corpus Callosum
'A seminal book.' -- Professor Ervin László, Huffington Post
'McGilchrist's careful analysis of how brains work is a veritable tour de force,gradually and skilfully revealed. I know of no better exposition of thecurrent state of functional brain neuroscience ...' -- Professor WF Bynum,Times Literary Supplement
'A landmark new book ... it tells a story you need to hear, of where we live now.' -- Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times
'A remarkable book... Its thesis is profoundly interesting.' -- Professor Adam Zeman, Standpoint Magazine
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