geroge ellett coghill, naturalist and philosopher. c. judson herrick, university of chicago press,...

Download Geroge Ellett Coghill, Naturalist and Philosopher. C. Judson Herrick, University of Chicago Press, 1949, xi + 280 pages. $5.00

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    the descriptive, theoretical and comparative data found in most neuroanatoniy texts and has emphasized the practical application of the neuronal pathways of the human nervous system. Contro- versial issues have been included to stimulate independent think- ing, critical evaluation, and also to inoculate into him (the reader) a certain degree of sound skepticism towards many of the medical doctrines.

    The sequence of presentation of the material is unique and, for the most part, quite logical. Chapters 2 through 5 deal with motor functions. The peripheral motor neuron and motor units are con- sidered first and are followed in succession by discussions of the pyramidal tract, extrapyramidal system, and the cerebellum. Ap- parently the author felt that, from the standpoint of clinical neurol- ogy, the pyramidal system should take precedence over the older and more fundaments! extrapyramidal system. I n discussing the cerebellum, the author drew widely from his own research in that field.

    Chapter 6 covers the somatic afferent system from receptors to cortex. In the next chapter, each of the cranial nerves is taken up in sequence beginning with the hypoglossal and ending with the combined abclucent, trochlear and oculomotor nerves. The discus- sion of the clinical aspects of optic reflexes is excellent and forms a perfect transition to the following chapter dealing with the visual system. Chapters on the acoustic, olfactory and autonomic nervous systems follow, and the final chapter deals with the structure and sig- nificance of the cerebral cortex.

    Relatively few illustrations are used, but when included to clarify the text they are clear and concise. The bibliography is extensive and contains many recent and unconfirnied reports. An especially valuable feature of the text is the italicization of fundamental state- ments. The index is complete and very usable.


    GEORGE ELLETT COGHILL, NATURALIST AND PHILOSO- PHER. C. JUDSON HWRICK, University of Chicago Press, 1949, xi + 280 pages. $5.00. Any book written by Dr. Herrick is worthy of careful reading.

    This is pre-eminently so, when Herrick discusses the life history, the scientific achievements and the vitalizing philosophy of his long- time intimate friend, the eminent embryologist and former Nanaging Editor of this Journal, G. E. Coghill. This he does in this volume.


    His presentation of the life and works of Coghill is no routine biography. The author does not slight biographical detail, but frames the whole in a discussion of the life of science as lived by one who was a human being, with virtues and with faults, a life that portrays not only the growth of the man but the development of his ideas as well, each interacting on the other. It is, in consequence, a book that should be owned, read and studied by every young man and woman who contemplates entering upon a career in science, particularly in the biological sciences.

    The first 74 pages of this volume present a detailed biography of G. E. Coghill. I n spite of the intimacy of the author with his sub- ject, o r perhaps because of it, this account is unusually unbiased, offering a hero who, though heroic, still had his foibles and his failings like other men. This is the account of a man who had his ups and downs, his successes and his failures, one whose scientific achievement was of the highest order. Book I is thus a sympathetic but honest account of the life of a real person, not of a paragon.

    Book 11, of 90 pages, gives the most complete survey of Coghills scientific work that is ever likely to appear. The contents of Cog- hills scientific contributions is supplemented and enriched by notes and extracts from his correspondence with the author and with others. Dr. Herrick had been a participant in joint studies with Coghill and was always in intimate touch with him by correspondence and personal visits. The presentation and interpretation of Coghills work contained in this section make this book indispensable to em- bryologists and genetic psychologists alike.

    The third Book, of 61 pages, presents Coghills philosophic outlook, cleverly arranged in the form of dialogues between the author and his subject. The discussions illustrate the thought processes of both and clarify Coghills own ideal, to achieve a philosophy, not of b e h g , but of becoming; not of l i fe , but of l iv ing, which is itself my supreme experiment (p. 230).

    The generous appendices present the authors documenting refer- ences and comments on the chapters of the book, a detailed bibliog- raphy of the subjects publications, supplementary biographical data, a special summary of Coghills work on the killifish (Fundulus) , and the acknowledgments of the author. An excellent index closes the volume.

    As this book is laid aside, the reader will feel that he has met two great men, the subject and the author.



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