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Napoleon's Glands and Other Ventures in Biohistory Paperback – September, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Warner Books Inc (Mm) (September 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446329738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446329736
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne S. Cart on February 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have now purchased my fourth copy of Napoleon's Glands because the first three copies were loaned to friends who refused to part with them. As a teacher of writing, I often read excerpts of Napolean's Glands and other of Karlen's works to dazzle my students with how good writing should be done. My oral reading to my classes of Karlen's writing is always followed by a mass-gasp of awe, oh-wow, and then silence as the beauty of his words sink in. Arno Karlen has "IT." Don't miss his books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kellytwo on April 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Was it the Iron Duke or a fragile derriere that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo? What did ail Napoleon, and did his illnesses erode his empire? These, and other such questions so intrigued the author as to lead him to investigate biology as well as history and thus devise his own sub-genre-that of BioHistory.

This book chronicles, in non-inflammatory prose the medical histories of two of history's other famous persons-Poe and Goya, plus entire peoples-among them the Roman Empire, which he claims was brought down by lead poisoning and the 13th century, decimated by the Black Death.

This is a fascinating and exceedingly well-written book, with some examples corroborated by current technologies, such as proving that Napoleon WAS poisoned by arsenic. Locks of his hair gave up this information in 1962. Sadly, we can not know if he ingested the substance intentionally or unintentionally, as arsenic was commonly used in some medications at the time of his imprisonment on St Helena.

Early in the 1900's, an endocrinologist blamed Bonaparte's success and eventual defeat on his thyroid gland. The overactive gland drove him to frantic greatness; but the exhausted organ's lethargy cast him into failure and defeat. Some years later, another scientist argued that it was really a laggard pituitary gland, while still another blamed Napoleon's allegedly tiny testicles.

Fortunately for history, Napoleon asked for an autopsy to be done. This was conducted by his own surgeon, and observed by English doctors. One of these, Dr. Arnott, reported that Napoleon feared cancer, although the symptoms the Little General exhibited before his death more closely allied with a diagnosis of kidney failure, possibly gastroenteritis, or arsenic poisoning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Meridith Carsella on August 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book when it first came out as the writer was a family friend. I've always been interested in medicine and to have history blended in with medical theories behind huge events that shaped our world was one of the most exciting reads I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing! I've searched for other books of the same genre and have never found anything to remotely compare to this gem! Read it, you wont regret it. And the next time a major mover and shaker of our time is making a speech on TV, you'll find yourself wondering, "Are the whites of his eyes jaundiced?" "Is that a tremor in his hand?" It's like TV's "House" if it were set on the History channel...and well- in print instead of on screen. Oh, you know what I mean!! READ IT.
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