‘The Secret Life of Bones’ Review: The Mysteries Holding Us Together

In the Secret Life of Bones, author Brian Switek takes this basic piece of human anatomy and turns it into a thrilling story, combining biology, human evolution and history, and accounts from a few personal research trips to create this entertaining tome.

What do you know about bones? Personally, I don’t know much. They make up our skeleton, they’re the reason we’re able to run around on two legs, they break and you fix them. I’d like to think I know most of the names but, upon a quick personal quiz, I failed miserably. It’s not a part of human anatomy I think about much. 

In the Secret Life of Bones, author Brian Switek takes this basic piece of human anatomy and turns it into a thrilling story, combining biology, human evolution and history, and accounts from a few personal research trips to create this entertaining tome. It’s truly amazing how many museums, institutions and private collections are housing countless bone collections. From a distance, they all look the same but up close, every skeleton tells its own story. 

Many of the stories give rise to the old ‘stranger than fiction’ adage.

Bones themselves are fascinating structures given their perseverance centuries after the body’s death. You’ll find a dive into their makeup, but that’s not the real gem in the book. This is a real history of bones, complete with strange collections and even stranger scientists and enthusiasts who have remained enthralled by what bones can tell us about the past. Many of the stories give rise to the old ‘stranger than fiction’ adage. 

Switek has a very personable writing style, flowing seamlessly between personal experiences and historical accounts. It’s all extremely engaging, showing their excitement for the subject matter. You’ll learn loads of facts and figures you didn’t know and by the end, you’ll have a new appreciation and respect for the bones holding you together. 

The Secret Life of Bones:
Their Origins, Evolution and Fate
By Brian Switek
Published by Duckworth

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Author: Jacob A. Olson

Writing about science fiction and fantasy at ReviewsandRobots.com! I write reviews on novels, short stories, television, movies, etc. and throw in a few articles and thoughts as well.

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