A Left Hand Turn Around the World: Chasing the Mystery and Meaning of All Things Southpaw


by: Wolman, David
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description Are Southpaws really more creative, or is that just a myth? Is there a gene for left-handedness? David Wolman--a lefty, and proud of it--sets out to answer these and other questions on a journey through the world of the left-hander. Traveling from the halls of history to the halls of science, Wolman explores a Scottish castle designed for left-handed swordfights, visits a Paris museum to inspect nineteenth-century brains that hold clues to this biological puzzle, consults an Indian palm reader, subjects his own brain to research in a basement laboratory in California, and sits with a primatologist in Atlanta whose chimpanzees may hold the key to the evolutionary mystery of left-handedness. Along the way, Wolman meets fellow left-handers who share his sense of kinship and help him uncover the essence of Southpaw. There is sinister Diabolos Rex, follower of the Left Hand Path; left-handed handwriting analysts; and John Evans, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. In Japan, Wolman tees off with the National Association of Left-Handed Golfers, and seeks wisdom from a left-handed baseball legend and a world renowned biologist. A seamless blend of science, travel, culture, and humor, this inquisitive exploration of all things Southpaw is sure to be the perfect book for lefties and the righties who love them. Amazon.com Review Far more detailed than a typical collection of left-handed trivia, David Wolman's Left-Hand Turn Around The World examines 200 years of anatomy in a search for the roots of hand preference. The results are surprising, and perhaps a bit disappointing to anyone who prefers believing "left-handed people are the only ones in their right minds". Wolman travels the world for answers, from a mildly gruesome visit to Broca's bottled brains in a Paris museum to the latest Berkeley research labs. Throughout the journey, the science is as accessible as any animal documentary and as well-documented as any rigorous reader will demand. Included in the mix are a trip to a graphologist's convention and a visit with a gentleman whose handedness is the result of surgically combining his left hand with his right arm. Wolman's Fulbright fellowship-winning reporting is always clear and entertaining?he has a fine knack for presenting complex theories in direct, dryly amusing language. He frequently inserts himself into the research, in one case borrowing his nephew for a visit with a pediatric neuropsychologist. With the most recent research offering the theory that strength of hand preference is more important than the actual hand preferred, the final conclusion could be an eye opener to those who prefer the old ideas that lefties are more creative, athletic, artistic and generally more wonderful. As Wolman says in conclusion, you can still says lefties are special, because they are. Jill Lightner From Publishers Weekly Why are so many humans right-handed when most animal species show random preferences for one side or another? Is a preference for the left hand an indicator of brain difference? How do developing embryos figure out which side is left, anyway, and why is that information so critical to their development? Wolman's breezy, informative account of "what makes left-handers special" tackles these and other fascinating questions on its journey to finding out what exactly handedness means and why it happens. The author, a proud member of "the fraternity of Southpaw" and a journalist whose work has appeared in New Scientist, Discover and Wired, travels all over the world to find his answers, and his lively tales of visits to the field's top researchers double as solid introductions to the science of handedness. Though his visits to a palmist in Quebec and a graphologist in Virginia are less than entertaining—he finds them illogical, they find him irritating—his attempts at left-handed golf in Japan and lefthanded sword fighting in Scotland are funny and instructive. Amu


Product Code: 9780306814150
ISBN: 0306814153
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: 2005-10-24
Number of Pages: 248 pages
Languages: english
Edition: 1st Da Capo Press Ed
Dimension: 5.71 x 0.91 x 8.39 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds