A lively, illustrated exploration of the 500-million-year history of bone, a touchstone for understanding vertebrate life and human culture
VIDEO SYNOPSIS OF BONES
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Invite Roy to “visit” your book club when you discuss Bones

CONTENTS and SYNOPSIS

Part One  BONE CONCEALED

Chapter 1 BONE’S UNIQUE COMPOSITION AND VARIED STRUCTURE

Chapter 2 BONE’S LIFE AND RELATIVES

Chapter 3 WHEN BONES BREAK

Chapter 4 BONE’S OTHER FAILINGS AND WHO CAN HELP

Chapter 5 BONE SURGERY THROUGH THE AGES

Chapter 6 SIX ORTHOPEDIC GIANTS

Chapter 7 ORTHOPEDIC INNOVATION

Chapter 8 PICTURING BONE

Chapter 9 THE FUTURE OF CONCEALED BONE

Part Two  BONE REVEALED

Chapter 10 BONE LEFT ALONE

Chapter 11 DEFERENCE TO BONE

Chapter 12 BONES THAT TEACH

Chapter 13 THE BUSINESS OF BONES

Chapter 14 DOMESTIC BONES

Chapter 15 BEGUILING BONES

Chapter 16 THE FUTURE OF REVEALED BONE

Synopsis: Human bone is versatile and entirely unique: it repairs itself without scarring, it’s lightweight but responds to stresses, and it’s durable enough to survive for millennia. In Bones, orthopedic surgeon Roy A. Meals explores and extols this amazing material that both supports and records vertebrate life.

Inside the body, bone proves itself the world’s best building material. Meals examines the biological makeup of bones; demystifies how they grow, break, and heal; and compares the particulars of human bone to variations throughout the animal kingdom. In engaging and clear prose, he debunks familiar myths—humans don’t have exactly 206 bones—and illustrates common bone diseases, like osteoporosis and arthritis, and their treatments. Along the way, he highlights the medical innovations—from the first X-rays to advanced operative techniques—that enhance our lives and introduces the giants of orthopedic surgery who developed them.

After it has supported vertebrate life, bone reveals itself in surprising ways—sometimes hundreds of millions of years later. With enthusiasm and humor, Meals investigates the diverse roles bone has played in human culture throughout history. He highlights allusions to bone in religion and literature, from Adam’s rib to Hamlet’s skull, and uncovers its enduring presence as fossils, technological tools, and musical instruments ranging from the Tibetan thighbone kangling horn to everyday drumsticks. From the dawn of civilization through to the present day, humankind has repurposed bone to serve and protect, and even to teach, amuse, and inspire.

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