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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

November 05, 1995|ERIKA TAYLOR

MEMORY'S GHOST The Strange Tale of Mr. M and the Nature of Memory by Philip J. Hilts. (Simon & Schuster: $22; 253 pp.) Hilts' book is a meditation on memory from a historical, philosophical literary and personal perspective. The centerpiece of these complex meanderings is the story of a unique human being. In 1953, radical brain surgery was performed on a man named Henry M. in the hopes of curing his epilepsy. When the doctors were finished removing a fist-sized organ called the hippocampus from Henry's brain, they were left with a man who had lost his identity.

"Memory's Ghost" lies in the area where science, art and history intersect. It is a very intellectual book. Hilts is able to simultaneously give us Henry the man, the metaphor and the scientific wonder.

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