Helsinki: Teos, 2013. 761 pp., ill .
Human development and human life are in many ways linked to the hand – and yet we seldom think about its significance. In their accessibly written and comprehensive Käsikirja, Emeritus Professors Martin Panelius and Risto Santti are joined by researcher Jarkko S. Tuusvuori in considering the body’s upper extremity from various points of view. The authors’ expertise in their own fields – neurology, anatomy and philosophy – set the book’s tone, but it goes far beyond these. The structure and functions of the hand are examined, as are its phylogeny, its neural networks, its aging process, its use in skills, and the injuries and illnesses that threaten it. The book deals with the hand’s connection with language and communication, its social significance, and the importance of human touch. There are a great many details, terms and names, but the artwork, the beautiful layout, the examples and the literary selections enliven the narrative. A multi-faceted achievement, Käsikirja is a refreshingly original work of non-fiction.