In the summer of 1953, maverick neurosurgeon William Beecher Scoville performed a groundbreaking operation on an epileptic patient named Henry Molaison. But it was a catastrophic failure, leaving Henry unable to create long-term memories.
Scoville's grandson, Luke Dittrich, takes us on an astonishing journey through the history of neuroscience, from the first brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the New England asylum where his grandfather developed a taste for human experimentation. Dittrich's investigation confronts unsettling family secrets and reveals the dark roots of modern neuroscience, raising troubling questions that echo into the present day.
Luke Dittrich has been working as a journalist since 1997, and his on-the-job experiences have included running a marathon in Antarctica and walking 340 miles along the United States/Mexico border. He is a contributing editor at Esquire, and his articles have appeared in a variety of anthologies, including Best American Crime Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Science and Nature Writing. A story he wrote about the survivors of a devastating Missouri tornado won the 2012 National Magazine Award for feature writing. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and this is his first book.