Read His Brother's Keeper by Jonathan Weiner Online


His Brother's Keeper is a book about the epitome of the new biology: regenerative medicine. It tells the story of the epic line of cell research that is right now coming together with discoveries that take us across the borders of biology into some of its most fascinating and bewildering frontiers, including cloning, genomic, molecular genetics, genetic engineering, and emHis Brother's Keeper is a book about the epitome of the new biology: regenerative medicine. It tells the story of the epic line of cell research that is right now coming together with discoveries that take us across the borders of biology into some of its most fascinating and bewildering frontiers, including cloning, genomic, molecular genetics, genetic engineering, and embryonic stem cells. This is a book that explores the moment when life science in the pursuit of medicine achieves the power to direct new steps in the evolution of the human body and spirit.The story is told through the lives of two amazing brothers: Stephen Heywood, a carpenter, who discovers he has A.L.S., a gradual, mysterious deterioration of the nervous system, also known as Lou Gehrig `s disease, and Jamie Heywood, an engineer who quits his lucrative job to start a foundation where he obsessively works with cutting-edge scientists in a race to find a cure. Through this remarkable journey with a family in crisis, we are given an overview of the various gene therapies that are still on the horizon, capable of potentially bringing back those suffering from such neurological diseases as A.L.S., Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other various disorders of the brain. Through the translucent prose of Jonathan Weiner, we experience not only the passion and torment of the Heywoods, but we learn a vast amount about the groundbreaking technologies that may one day save our own lives and certainly change the way we live them....

Title : His Brother's Keeper
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060010089
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

His Brother's Keeper Reviews

  • Cathy
    2019-06-10 06:53

    Learned more than I ever knew about Lou Gehrig's disease, from a very personal point of view. I was disappointed in Weiner's writing. I was expecting the incredible writing of Beak of the Finch, but found instead a story he couldn't quite seem to pull together. Perhaps it was too personal for him, since his mother was dying of a nerve disease at the same time and he tried to incorporate that into the story. Still a powerful glimpse of people doing all they can to get through a life and death situation.

  • Allyson Dyar
    2019-05-29 04:52

    I ordered this hardback around 2005 from the Scientific American BookClub because I needed another book to fulfill my commitment. Nothingreally hit my fancy and since I desperately needed to select something,"My Brother's Keeper" by Jonathan Weiner was reluctantly selected.For five years, the book sat upon my shelf. I'd picked up the bookseveral times and each time, opted not to read it. Finally, I took theplunge because my newly ordered books hadn't arrived yet and I neededanother book to read. My gut reaction was that I wasn't going to enjoythis read all that much and, much to my dismay, I wasn't disappointed.As I read the first few chapters of this book while traveling home fromwork, my initial impression was "pretentious twaddle." My subsequentview of the book mellowed as I realized that the author was telling hismother's neurological story scattered amongst his relating the tale ofJamie Heywood's valiant effort to save his brother Stephen from ALS also knownas Lou Gehrig's Disease (side note: this disease is most notable forbeing named after a famous patient rather than the researcher whocreated the definition documentation of the affliction)."My Brother's Keeper" takes the reader from pre-diagnosis to diagnosisand the new frontier of gene therapy leaving the reader to conclude theinevitable at book's end.I am an avid reader of medical history books and unfortunately, I can'trecommend this book. In fact, I'm giving serious consideration toditching the book, a decision I don't take likely (I have over 50 booksdedicated solely to anatomy and physiology; I view the removal of a bookfrom my library very seriously).I'm really not sure what audience this book is aimed at. At times, thisbook waxes poetically about the subject at hand, other times, in delvesinto the complex world of cloning, recombinant DNA and stem cell therapy-- heady subjects for a book written in a way that would be bettersuited to the modern fiction section of a book store than a 'true-life'adventure The story itself was compelling without surrounding the readerwith such florid prose.I will give props to the author for taking these fairly complex subjectsand expertly distilling them to a primarily lay audience. All in all, I found the book to ultimately be an unsatisfactoryexperience but I'm sure there are others who will enjoy it more than Idid.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-29 10:21

    This book was good, but could have been better, as it wound down rather rapidly that I wasn't sure what had happened. The author follows the story of the Heywood brothers, white collar Jamie, an engineer, who leaves his job to pursue a biologic solution to cure his brother, blue collar Stephen's ALS. Stephen takes his diagnosis in stride, continuing to restore homes while his limbs grow progressively weaker and willing to volunteer as his brother's test subject if a treatment is found. Stephen is diagnosed in 1998, at the beginning of both the dot com boom and stem cell research, so Jamie finds both funding and scientists full of ideas who are up to the challenge of making strides against ALS. While Jamie learns that most research and therapy development takes 5-10 years to be available to treat patients, he knows that his brother is unlikely to have more than a year or two, and pushes forward trying to cut corners where possible without sacrificing quality and using his charm to get things done.Meanwhile, the author finds a personal connection to Jamie's quest, as his mother is rapidly experiencing a form of dementia, and Weiner feels that progress made for ALS could eventually be applied towards curing this disease, though Weiner's mother is likely to be too far advanced in her disease to benefit from any treatments that may be found. Weiner is a science writer and tries to remain neutral, not wanting to allow feelings for Stephen's plight to bias his writing, but also not wanting to express his skepticism that Jamie's full throttle approach will be all he had hoped for.Overall, I enjoyed the book for the most part, though once the dot com bubble bursts and stem cell research gets curtailed, the book ends quickly, but the premise is interesting nonetheless, and I am curious to see if Jamie's ALS foundation is still running, as the cure still has yet to be found.

  • Camille
    2019-06-15 10:58

    Jonathan Weiner chose to become a writer over studying biology and ended up writing about science. In his words he isn't exactly a science writer. Rather, he says, "I'm trying to tell a true story with all the tools of narrative." And this most personal of his books tells an extraordinary story-a race against time, Jamie Heywood's, to find the miracle cure for ALS and save Stephen Heywood. In the context of the story, Weiner discloses background and research in biomedical and neurosciences, neurodegenerative diseases, the brain, DNA, gene therapy, stem cells etc. In addition, the major players in the Heywood story are primary researchers and doctors in those fields. Also, as the story unfolds, we are privy to the personal conflicts and tragedies of real-life characters. While writing this story, Weiner was writer-in residence at Rockefeller University, a world-renowned center with 76 laboratories for conducting research and providing graduate education in the biomedical sciences, chemistry, bioinformatics and physics. His only responsibility was to teach a graduate seminar to young biologists and medical students, "Parallel Lines: Science and Literature. In his words he was there to give these students who were working at their laboratory benches for 12-15 hours a day "an excuse to read." I find this approach to science education so very interesting. The literary quotes sprinkled through the text also illuminate the science and the human conflicts associated with that science.

  • Katherine
    2019-06-24 13:10

    In this fantastic book, Jonathan Weiner delves into the lives of two brothers, Jamie and Stephen, as they tried to find a cure for ALS (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Jamie, an engineer by education, makes it his life’s mission to study and find a cure for ALS after Stephen was diagnosed with having the disease. Stephen, a carpenter, allows his brother to become highly involved with his life and treatments, and Jamie desperately tries to find a cure. This zeal eventually leads to the destruction of Jamie’s marriage and financial situation. Weiner follows the course of Stephen’s illness using the present tense, and he also ties in his own first-person narration as he interacts with the brothers. Weiner moves back and forth between the scientific implications of ALS and Jamie and Stephen’s life story. The author’s ability to honestly assess the characters, particularly Jamie, allows the reader to empathize strongly with the story. Weiner also reflects upon his own fears and weaknesses with respect toward his mother, who is also suffering from a progressive illness of her nerves. This self-reflection is compelling and, in short, Weiner’s book is outstanding.

  • Crosby
    2019-05-28 13:03

    A story of two brothers one of which is dying of an incurable genetic problem called Lou Gehrig's disease. Knowing that this disease is currently incurable and invariably fatal, i was not optimistic that this book would have a satisfying end. This turned out to be true. The author does a good job of conveying the personal trials and tribulations of the family but in the end could not transform a sad story into something better. The quest of a brother to speed up the process of genetic therapy to help his dying sibling was the centerpiece of this story. The interaction of regulatory agencies, researchers and investors in their race for a cure was well documented by the author but it was also evident that this sort of race can only be won after a considerable expenditure of time----something this family did not have.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-31 05:07

    this book is about the brothers (Ben and Jamie Heywood) that founded the company I work for. there is a movie too, So Much So Fast. I found this book very interesting, but it felt a bit patchy at times and the pace was a little funny - some parts I zipped through and at some points I put the book down for a couple of days before picking it up again. While reading it I felt a little like I was spying on Ben and Jamie Heywood - I would read on the bus and then get to work and Ben would ask me something about our financials, very weird.

  • Ronald Wise
    2019-06-13 08:06

    A truly extraordinary tale directly involving some of the biggest ethical issues at the end of the 20th century. The true story of James Heywood's manic attempt to find a fast-track cure for his brother Stephen, who has been diagnosed with ALS. Directly linked to the big stories of the time - stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering - this book provided an inside look at the dynamics behind the developments then appearing in the media headlines frequently.

  • Amanda Carver
    2019-05-31 10:00

    Started off amazing: true story of a brother who became a genetic engineer when his 29-yr old brother was diagnosed with ALS. The trouble is that the race to find a cure starts out all frantic and fast-paced and then drops off a cliff, and the novel does the same. If the author had more directly addressed that this was what was happening, I think I would have been more satisfied. Still, it was a fascinating read.

  • Kristy Allen
    2019-06-07 06:55

    Gives you a true feeling of what it is like to have a family member with ALS. The description of them waiting for the results of the final MRI and wishing they found a brain tumor puts into perspective the ALS diagnosis. Great read about a man desperate to save his brother.

  • Kelsey
    2019-06-19 11:05

    I read this book while laid up in a hospital bed sick with malaria and schistosomiasis. It was definitely the book to have on hand because it made all my suffering seem trivial. A really easy and captivating read. I definitely recommend it to all those science lovers out there.

  • Wendy
    2019-06-04 07:06

    I thought this was well written. I read this book as I am starting a new job for a company that is working on drugs to address ALS and other CNS diseases. I think it was a good introduction to the science without being to academic.

  • Marian Francisco
    2019-06-07 10:14

    I've read this book a long time ago and it was one of the books that stayed with me. The story was inspiring and informative. 4 stars was for the more technical terms and some dragging parts of the book. I wouldn't mind reading this book again.

  • Holly Jorgenson
    2019-06-14 13:02

    This was an amazing book, along the same lines as my other narrative nonfiction favorites!

  • David Quinn
    2019-06-06 12:20

    Very well written and very interesting. There's a documentary movie about the Heywoods that was very good too.

  • Kristy Christensen
    2019-06-11 11:19

    I could not finish this one. I am not a Scientist and a lot of time explaining took away from the story

  • Jessica Tillinghast
    2019-06-20 08:15

    Great read a lot of medical talk a great read for genetics students

  • Melanie McCarter
    2019-06-21 05:20

    This book had some cutting-edge ethical issues regarding stem cells. I enjoyed it from the science perspective and the touching story moved me emotionally.

  • Lu
    2019-05-26 13:18


  • Carrie
    2019-06-09 05:16

    The author is fantastic. I didn't expect such a satisfying ending.

  • Paul
    2019-06-16 08:01

    Science writer (Beak of the Finch) tackles story of family dealing with son (30years old) who gets ALS. His brother pushes all edges of science/medicine to find cure. Powerful, interesting...

  • April
    2019-06-08 13:07

    Do not finish this book at 3am with a raging case of jet lag. I bawled for a good hour after I put it down. Amazing, inspiring, heartbreaking ... you'll wish your family was this tight.

  • Stacey
    2019-05-28 08:05

    This book is wonderful- but painfully sad. About a young guy with ALS (Lou Gherigs disease) in the prime of his life and his brother's quest to find a cure... truly worth reading.

  • Turton12
    2019-06-16 12:05

    Eliminating devastating diseases. The process probably isn't any better today. Sad