Wook Kim
August 01, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Michael Sims
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

In his witty and informative top-to-bottom tour of the human anatomy, Sims gleans marvelous nuggets from medical and historical texts (milk from a woman’s breasts is the only food expressly designed for human consumption) and sets them against illustrative references from pop culture and the arts (he finds references disparaging the big toe in both Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Calvin and Hobbes). Sly and sardonic (lest we get too proud of our Homo sapiens superiority, he notes that we are a species that ”knits sweaters for dogs”), this body — and bawdy — Baedeker should inspire readers to do some Navel-gazing of their own.

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