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Afflicting nearly half of all persons over the age of 85, Alzheimer’s disease kills nearly 100,000 Americas a year as it insidiously robs them of their memory and wreaks havoc on the lives of their loved ones. It was once minimized and misunderstood as forgetfulness in the elderly, but Alzheimer’s is now at the forefront of many medical and scientific agendas, for as the world’s population ages, the disease will kill millions more and touch the lives of virtually everyone.
The Forgetting is a scrupulously researched, multilayered analysis of Alzheimer’s and its social, medical, and spiritual implications. David Shenk presents us with much more than a detailed explanation of its causes and effects and the search for a cure. He movingly captures the disease’s impact on its victims and their families, and he looks back through history, explaining how Alzheimer’s most likely afflicted such figures as Jonathan Swift, Ralph Waldo Emerson,and William de Kooning. The result is a searing, powerfully engaging account of Alzheimer’s disease, offering a grim but sympathetic and ultimately encouraging portrait.
“A remarkable addition to the literature of the science of the mind . . . Shenk has drawn together threads of neurobiology, art history, and psychology into a literary portrait of Alzheimer’s disease perfectly balanced between sorrow and wonder, devastation and awe.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Written with a researcher’s attention to detail and a storyteller’s ear.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating meditation . . . Shenk has found something beautiful and soulful in a condition that forces people to live in the perpetual ‘now.’ . . . Deeply affecting.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A graceful, masterful portrait of [the] illness. . . Readers can’t help but be taken by Shenk’s humanity and compassion, which brim throughout.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Highly recommended.” –Journal of the American Medical Association