Sir Charles Bell
His Life, Art, Neurological Concepts, and Controversial Legacy
Michael J Aminoff, MD, DSc, FRCP
Reviews and Awards
"With warmth and knowledge, Michael Aminoff provides a well-rounded summary of the life and career of Sir Charles Bell. The reader enters the world of early 19th century London, travels alongside Bell through the scientific and medical avenues of descriptive neuroanatomy, and enters several darker alleys of controversy. The journey unveils provocative historical questions and new insights related to this important, largely-forgotten scientific and medical figure." - Christopher G. Goetz, MD, Professor of Neurology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
"Had I been asked who Sir Charles Bell was, I would have simply replied, 'The guy who described Bell's Palsy.' Now, after reading Michael Aminoff's book, I realize that Bell's Palsy was a very minor aspect of Bell's extraordinary accomplishments. He was a surgeon, neurologist, anatomist, prolific writer, and illustrator. Indeed, he was the ultimate polymath. Bell's book Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain was described as the Magna Carta of Neurology. Dr. Aminoff, also a polymath, captures Bell's true genius in a book that will be enjoyed by all seekers of true brilliance."- Robert B. Daroff, MD, Professor and Chair Emeritus of Neurology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH "
"From a forgotten corner - modern neurology's birth in the early 19th century - Michael Aminoff restores Charles Bell to our consciousness as a founding father. This is vibrant reading, providing a rich view of this brilliant, driven and flawed man and his moment in time. Aminoff offers a balanced view of Bell's foibles as well as his prodigious accomplishments. He deftly shows us how so many of the clinical syndromes, mapped in modern form over the next century, were actually recognized by Bell and his contemporaries. Kudos to Michael Aminoff for bringing Bell out of the shadows of history." -Stephen L. Hauser, MD, Director, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Professor & Chair, Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA "
"Michael Aminoff is a renowned educator of Neurology and Neurological Sciences. His writing is eclectic and this latest monograph tackles the life, works, and thoughts of Sir Charles Bell. It is by far the most detailed description of Bell ever written, full of fascinating details. Aminoff is a Physician-Scientist of considerable stature and this had given him the ability to weave Bell's discoveries into present day thinking and how observations made by Bell have significant relevance in modern medicine. This monograph delves into England and Europe as experienced by Bell, adding charm and interest for non-physicians. No one is perfect, and Aminoff is not shy of bringing out Charles Bell's shortcoming. Despite this I am sure that Sir Charles would thoroughly enjoy this gem, full of wonderful descriptions of his many achievements."- Andrew Eisen, MD, FRCPC, Professor Emeritus, Division of Neurology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada"
"This volume will be a pleasure for all of us in search of an important scientific biography that reads like a novel. A reference text in its own right, it is an intimate account of Charles Bell through his life, work, and art, and also a rich cultural history of the times in which he lived. Through extensive research, Michael Aminoff finds the humanity in a brilliant and important, but flawed figure at the birth of neuroscience." -Kerry H. Levin, MD, Chairman, Department of Neurology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH "