"Fascinating . . . Surprising entertainment, combining deep learning with dad jokes . . . [Schutt] is a natural teacher with an easy way with metaphor.”—The Wall Street Journal
Zoologist Bill Schutt delivers a look at the science behind hearts from across the animal kingdom— from insects to whales to humans— in this lively natural history.
Millennia ago, when we first began puzzling over the mysteries of the human body, one organ stood out as vital. The heart was warm, it was central, and it moved as it pumped blood. The ancient Egyptians treated it with reverence, mummifying it separately from the body so that the soul inside it could be weighed. Aristotle believed that it was the seat of consciousness. Over the centuries, science has dispelled the myths, but our fascination with the heart has endured.
From the origins of circulation, still evident in some microorganisms today, to the enormous hearts of blue whales, we journey with Bill to beaches where horseshoe crabs are being harvested for their life-saving blood, and under the sea to learn about the world’s most natural antifreeze, flowing through the veins of icefish. And we follow him through human history, too, as scientists hypothesize wrongly and rightly about what is arguably our most important organ, ultimately developing the technologies that have helped us study the heart—and now, in the most cutting-edge labs, the tools that will help us regenerate it.
Deeply researched and engagingly told, Pump is a fascinating natural history sure to be loved by readers of Mary Roach and Bill Bryson.
About the Author
Bill Schutt is a vertebrate zoologist and author of six nonfiction and fiction books, including Pump: A Natural History of the Heart and the New York Times Editor’s Choice, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. Recently retired from his post as professor of biology at LIU Post, he is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has studied bats all over the world. His research has been featured in Natural History magazine as well as in the New York Times, Newsday, the Economist, and Discover.
"Fascinating . . . Surprising entertainment, combining deep learning with dad jokes . . . [Schutt] is a natural teacher with an easy way with metaphor.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] show-stopping exploration of cardiac biology . . . Informative, playful, and impossible to put down."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This brisk and engaging history of hearts of all forms and sizes packs a punch.”
—Foreword Reviews, starred review
“Pump is a natural history of the heart and the science is fascinating. Schutt is a zoologist, and entertainingly details the evolution of the heart. I especially loved how this book so successfully tells the human story, of how and why we came to regard the heart as something more than a blood-pumping organ. There are cool animals and plenty of song lyrics, tales of medical misadventure and triumph, and even time with one gigantic whale heart. As with all Schutt’s non-fiction, there’s a mix of both humor and the macabre. It is science writing at its finest.”
—Cool Green Science (blog of The Nature Conservancy)
"An easy-to-read and fascinating look into the complexity and wonder of the heart in its many forms."
"Schutt covers a lot of ground here and discusses serious science, but his witty style keeps it readable . . . An engaging, often droll look at the engine of life and the long history of efforts to understand it."
"Wonderful. Pump is informative and entertaining and the science is impeccable. I highly recommend it."
—Joseph C. Piscatella, author ofDon’t Eat Your Heart Out
“Pump is an absolutely fascinating journey through the human heart by way of our animal kin. It's so packed with cool details, you'll want to read it twice.”
—Jennifer S. Holland, author of the New York Times bestselling Unlikely Friendships series
“Pump takes readers on a fantastic and fascinating voyage of all matters of the heart.”
—Cat Warren, author of What the Dog Knows
“As Bill Schutt delightfully shows us in his new book, hearts have gripping stories to tell about a huge range of topics, from the history of life on our planet to the foibles of humankind.”
—Ian Tattersall, coauthor of The Accidental Homo Sapiens
“Narrating stories from across the animal kingdom, Schutt brings his usual intelligence and humor to this well-curated natural history of the heart and circulatory system. Pump is not your cardiologist’s book on the heart. A rich and entertaining read that will leave you feeling smarter.”
—Darrin Lunde, Author of The Naturalist
“A fine overview of an essential organ.”