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The Eye
by Simon Ings

Release Date: 21st Jan 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978 0 7475 9286 0
RRP: £8.99

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A Natural History of the Eye

The eyes are a hackers gift Ė a direct conduit into a personís mainframe. A smile isnít a smile unless it emanates from the eyes; saying ĎI love youí isnít as meaningful as the eyes showing that raw emotion. The eyes have it then; they are the gatekeepers of our inner sanctum Ė our soul. Nothing new there then.

So why write a book on the natural history of the eye? Well, I for one have a particular thing for the eye. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder long having been proven true when onlookers have caught sight of me and not immediately run away screaming or shrinking back in disgust, or some such similar sentiment. No surprise then, that I was keen to devour Ings offerings on the subject.

Interestingly and indeed what makes this such compelling reading is the fact that Ings isnít just writing this from a scientific, distant or even particularly objective perspective at times. In fact, this book is so full of emotion and warmth that one feels as though one is reading a bedtime story. Ingsís style is unilaterally accessible. Nothing is beyond the laymanís reach and this allows each of to delve into the mystery of how and why we see things the way we do, it enables us all a greater appreciation and understanding of one of the most fundamental senses most of us are fortunate to own Ė our sight.

Ings provides us with a thorough investigation at the history, theories and complexities of the human eye, as well as some intriguing (and a little worrying) accounts of experimentations that illustrate beyond doubt that sometimes we donít see whatís right in front of us. It can occasionally read like a text book for those in the medical or psychology professions, but donít let that put you off.

Anyone with an interest in eyes, or just a general curiosity will find The Eye engrossing and fulfilling.

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