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The Blue Man and Other Stories of the Skin Hardcover – April 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Skin is the body’s biggest organ. In an ­average adult, it measures about 20 square feet and weighs about nine pounds. Skin has multiple beneficial functions: protective envelope, temperature regulator, sensory apparatus, synthesizer of vitamin D, and partner of the immune system. But skin can get cranky (itchy, oily, sensitive, dry, or inflamed) and become cancerous. And let’s not forget about all that sweat it secretes. In this homage to the human body’s amazing covering, dermatologist Norman writes about the wonders of the skin, the agony of certain diseases. He includes a few short profiles of patients afflicted with skin disorders. Loss of pigmentation, an adverse reaction to medication, skin cancer, psoriasis, and neurodermatitis are featured topics. Musings on tattoos, artificial skin, and delusional parasitosis (an unreal belief of infestations with parasites) energize the discussion. Nearly 30 percent of dermatological complaints are connected with a psychiatric problem. Skin is more than a boundary between the outside world and the inner you. Norman’s all-too-brief book introduces readers to the complexity of a magnificent cutaneous universe. --Tony Miksanek

From the Inside Flap

"Dr. Rob Norman’s The Blue Man describes real-life dermatological detective stories that reveal the skin as a complex and mysterious creature and the practicing physician as both detective and an epidemiologist. This book educates and entertains, illustrates and illuminates, and improves our understanding of the skin -- our largest organ and the link between our bodies, the environment and other organisms. Read this book and enter the curious and fascinating world of skin."—Dr. Sharad P. Paul, M.D., author of Skin: A Biography

"Dr. Rob Norman has written a fascinating, entertaining, and informative book that weaves dermatologic diseases into spellbinding stories. For his characters, he does what Arthur Conan Doyle did for Sherlock Holmes. Physicians and the lay public will love this book!"—Mark Lebwohl, M.D., Sol and Clara Kest Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City

"How does our skin define us?  In The Blue Man, dermatologist-author Rob Norman provides an entertaining and informative overview of how our skin shields us from harm but also provides clues that the disease may be running amok in our bodies. The Blue Man will appeal to all those who make the health and care of skin their business and to general readers seeking to learn more about the body's largest organ."—Rita Ciresi, author of Pink Slip and Bring Back My Body to Me, Professor of English, University of South Florida’s Director of Creative Writing

"Lucid and appealing, The Blue Man is an introduction to a topic that almost all of us are interested in: our skin. Dr. Norman is a well-recognized expert in dermatology. For students interested in medical narrative, certain chapters would be required reading."—David J. Elpern, M.D., Editor, The Online Journal of Community and Person-Centered Dermatology (OJCPCD)

"In The Blue Man, Robert Norman does for the skin what Oliver Sacks did for the brain.  With his guidance, we travel under and around the skin to view people's distress or bewilderment over their skin conditions.  Norman's clear descriptions of skin diseases are woven into evocative and compassionate accounts of real people whose fates have been altered by their skin."—Nina G. Jablonski, author of Skin: A Natural History and Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color

"Skin diseases may create great physical, mental, and emotional suffering. Dr. Rob Norman writes about these afflictions with insight and compassion."—John E. Wolf, Jr., M.D., M.A., Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine

"Human skin, serving as the interface with the environment, is not only an important barrier, it is also a major contributor to social and cultural interactions.  Thus, in addition to considerations of disease, there is much to reflect on the skin’s greater role in our lives.  While the biomedically-oriented physician may focus on making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right therapy, the humanistic physician sees the big picture, the stories of people’s lives in which the skin plays a prominent role.  Leading dermatologist Dr. Rob Norman—a man of science, letters, and sound—shares these stories, educating us on the basic science underlying this remarkable organ while demonstrating the
lessons it has to share with us in our interpersonal lives."—Steven R. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

"Dr. Norman’s stories about our skin range from its vital physiological functions to its behavior in our everyday lives. The book is a beautifully written account that celebrates the body’s largest organ. Dr. Norman frequently uses the “eye of a naturalist” to provide comparisons between the behavior of skin and what occurs around us in nature to emphasize his points. A delightful read!"—Irwin M. Braverman MD, Professor Emeritus of Dermatology, Yale Medical School

“Dr. Norman is a born raconteur. He has taken his literary skills to new heights in gathering together stories about the skin and has capably used them to illustrate various dermatologic observations and findings.”—Lawrence Charles Parish MD, MD(Hon), Editor-in-Chief, Clinics in Dermatology and SkinMED

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (April 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Robert A. Norman is a board-certified dermatologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. He is a faculty member for five medical schools and has been honored with numerous service and teaching awards, including Physician of the Year (2005) and Distinguished Service Award (2007) in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida, and Tampa Bay Medical Hero Award (2008). Dr. Norman has written 23 books, including the recently published The Woman Who Lost Her Skin (And Other Dermatological Tales) primarily based on articles he has written in Discover magazine, and Mother Nature, Father Time-Tales of Medicine. He has been the editor of four textbooks on Geriatrics and Geriatric Dermatology and published over 100 articles in various major media publications. Dr. Norman has a private practice and is the chief physician and owner of Dermatology Healthcare, founded in 1994, which delivers essential skin care services for nursing home patients. He provides many national and international lectures each year; in October of 2007 he was the section director and lecturer in Geriatric Dermatology at the World Congress of Dermatology in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He is a frequent medical volunteer and is at the gold level in the AAD Leadership Circle for Volunteerism. His most recent mission trips were to Jamaica in April of 2009 and July and April of 2008 and Guatemala in January 2007. Other trips have included Haiti, Cuba, and Argentina.

Dr. Norman completed his pre-med, medical, and public health training at Michigan State University, Midwestern University, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of South Florida.

He and his wife Carol have five children brought together in a blended family. Dr. Norman is very active in his community serving on many service organization boards as well as donating his services. When he can he plays tennis, trapshooting, biking, kayaking and harmonica.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Benjamin Barankin on April 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent and fascinating new book by renowned dermatologist Dr. Robert Norman. This multi-talented physician is already known and respected for his clinical dermatology expertise, and is also highly regarded for his music, photography, poetry, and writings on skin. I just finished The Blue Man over two nights as I couldn't put it down. His writing style is polished, and his stories and cases fascinating. A great and enjoyable read for all people with skin!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Avid Writer on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Intriguing stories that will leave you scratching your head (and skin)! Very entertaining, well written and enjoyable. Highly recommended reading!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yannett Rodriguez on March 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
i think this book is very informational and gives great tips on caring for the skin of all ages , you will enjoy it
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