Brian Switek is better known, perhaps, for writing about palaeontology — and particularly dinosaurs. The Secret Life of Bone is all about a much more familiar skeleton in the closet — well, actually, it’s not even in the closet, so that’s really a bad joke. Ahem. Anyway. The point is, this book focuses mostly on human bone, though it gets there by way of our evolutionary history. Want to know how bones evolved? What bones can tell you about an individual? Freaky facts about bone growing inside soft organs? How bones are formed and reformed throughout your life? How bones fossilise?
This book is all of that, in a pretty breezy and entertaining style. It’s anecdotal, of course, as is common for popular science books — so if you have absolutely no interest at all in knowing Switek’s own thoughts, feelings and experiences, it probably won’t be for you. It makes the descriptions and explanations accessible, and I think really the thing that’s most lacking is some colour-plates to illustrate some of the skeletons he discusses from photographs.