It is the most fraught and fascinating, talked-about and taboo, unique yet universal aspect of our lives. It is the inspiration for art, the subject of science and the source of some of the greatest stories ever told. It is our most intimate ally against the world, provider of all pleasurable sensations, the repository of all we feel and know. And yet what a source of puzzlement and worry the body is: a home we never chose, a facade that we continually disguise, a protector that we know will fail us in the end. Until we fall ill, most of us take this extraordinarily complicated collection of flesh, bones and fluids entirely for granted. But from ancient body art to plastic surgery, from early anatomists to conceptual artists, grave-robbers to bionic athletes, our changing attitudes to the human body - how it works, what it should look like, how to live with it, what it means - tell us more about ourselves than almost any other subject in human history. Blending history, science, art, literature and the everyday, one of our finest science writers investigates this most marvellous and mysterious of creations. The result is a treasure trove of surprising facts, remarkable stories and startling information that encompasses everything from the first finger-printing to the physiology of angels, from synaesthesia to the clown-egg register, from the death-mask of Isaac Newton to the afterlife of Einstein's brain.