Human Body: A Visual Guide by Beverly McMillan [book review]

Human Body: A Visual GuideHuman Body: A Visual Guide by Beverly McMillan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the layman, aspiring anatomist or life scientist, Human Body: A Visual Guide is an excellent introduction to the human body. It is laid out in a very simple and straight-forward manner, starting with an overview of the body’s parts and major organs, starting from the skin and moving in. The later chapters then cover the nervous system, sensory organs, the vital fluids and immune system, the digestive system, various methods the body uses to maintain itself, and finally, reproduction and DNA.

This book has many things going well for it. Not a single page goes by without having beautiful, full-color photographs or easily understandable diagrams and concise captions to illustrate or expand on a point made in the main text. You’ll find photographs of daily human life, neurons firing, E. coli, blood cells, and more! After the main body of the book are dozens of tables in the appendix, offering a quick reference guide for diseases (including their vectors and major effects), important muscles, the functions of certain hormones, and an overview of the human body’s major organ systems. The book’s greatest strength, though, lies in its accessibility: very simple language is used throughout the book, and a glossary is in the back of the book to further explain key concepts.

There are only two real weaknesses in this text. The first is a mirror of the book’s accessibility; what the book gains in a public audience, it loses in certain aspects of detail. Thankfully, more in-depth texts exist (such as the classic Gray’s Anatomy), but this leads to the book’s second weakness, a lack of a bibliography or a “for further reading” section. It isn’t too difficult, however, to simply look at the books next to Human Body: A Visual Guide on the shelves or to find more books via Amazon or Google.

Overall, this is a very strong product and can serve to introduce children and adults alike into the fascinating world of human biology. I would give this a 4.5 out of 5.

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