Elsa Richardson


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Profile Books Ltd
9 May 2024
ISBN: 9781788167550
336 pages

From the publisher

The secret history of the body's most fascinating organ: the gut

Financial Times most anticipated read for 2024

'A fascinating, erudite and entertaining journey through the gut-brain connection'
TIFFANY WATT SMITH, author of The Book of Human Emotions

'A thrilling and surprising journey into the science and culture of an organ that refuses to be civilised'
PAUL CRADDOCK, author of Spare Parts

Have you ever had a gut feeling? Found something hard to stomach? Have you gone belly up under pressure? Did you pull yourself together and show some guts?

The growls and gurgles of our digestive system are a constant reminder of the physical work it does to keep our bodies running. But throughout history, humans have puzzled over how this rowdy organ might influence us in other ways, from our emotional states and mental well-being to the decisions we make and even our sense of self.

Through Ancient Greece and Victorian England, eighteenth-century France and contemporary America, cultural historian Elsa Richardson leads us on a lively tour of all the ways we've tried to make sense of this endlessly fascinating (and sometimes embarrassing) body part. From etiquette guides and diet advice to medieval alchemy and microbiology, she reveals that the gut-brain connection may be a modern obsession, but the question of whether we are ruled by our stomachs is as old as humanity itself.