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Leonardo's Foot stretches back to the fossil record and forward to recent discoveries in evolutionary science to demonstrate that it was our feet rather than our brains that first distinguished us from other species within the animal kingdom. Taking inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci's statement that "the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art," Carol Ann Rinzler leads us on a fascinating stroll through science, medicine, and culture to shed light on the role our feet have played in the evolution of civilization.
Whether discussing the ideal human form in classical antiquity, the impressive depth of the arching soles on the figures in Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus, an array of foot maladies and how they have affected luminaries from Lord Byron to Benjamin Franklin, or delving into the history of foot fetishism, Rinzler has created a wonderfully diverse catalog of details on our lowest extremities. Leonardo's Foot is popular science writing at its most entertaining – page after page of fascinating facts, based around the playful notion that appreciating this often overlooked part of our body is essential to understanding what it is to be human.
Carol Ann Rinzler, a former nutrition columnist for the New York Daily News, has contributed to a number of publications, including the New York Times. She is the author of more than twenty books on health and medicine, including Nutrition for Dummies, an international bestseller translated into fourteen languages.
"Rinzler lifts the lowly human foot to new heights in this appealing book."
– Booklist (starred review)
"Carol Ann Rinzler has written a surprising and delightful book about this 'underwhelming, underreported, and completely indispensable' part of the human body. It's amazing what you'll learn!"
– Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, New York State Assembly Health Committee
"Carol Ann Rinzler weaves together material from art, literature, science, and history to broaden our understanding of the human foot. Her book is by turns entertaining, enlightening, and altogether satisfying."
– Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
"Among the many pleasures of this book are the intriguing subject, Carol Ann Rinzler's lively and accessible writing style, and the amazing array of information she has gathered from so many different fields [...] Who knew that the story of our own feet could be so fascinating?"
– Sandra Opdycke, author of No One Was Turned Away and Jane Addams and Her Vision for America