Book review

Br J Cardiol 2013;20:105 Leave a comment
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The heart of Leonardo

Authors: Francis C Wells
Publisher: Springer, London 2013
ISBN: 9781447145301
Price: £126.00

BJC_book_reviewLongman COVER

Just occasionally you come across a book which captivates your mind, one you know you will still be picking up and learning from in years to come, and a book that will be handed on to future generations, holding great historical interest. This slim yet detailed volume was researched and written by one of my surgical colleagues, Mr Francis Wells, whose interest in the heart has taken him from the cutting edge diagnostic and therapeutic surgical tools of the modern era, back to the 1500s and the heart studies of Leonardo da Vinci – a true ‘meeting of the minds’.

The Royal Collection holds the finest of Leonardo’s drawings, and this book – with a foreword by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales – features all those of the heart, describing its anatomy and functioning with extraordinary precision. These are accompanied by translations of the accompanying text, transcribed from the mirror image in which Leonardo wrote! Illustrations are compared with contemporary dissections, images from modern magnetic resonance scanners, and high definition ultrasound. Francis Wells provides a modern interpretation as a clinician, in a way that will be meaningful to cardiologists, medical specialists, anatomists, historians, and the general public.

This is a truly exceptional book. You will be amazed by what you have read, and struggle to put it down. Highly recommended, and excellent value for money!

Dr Sarah C Clarke
Vice President Education and Research
British Cardiovascular Society, 9 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HW